Kerr denied as Red Stars suffer first NWSL defeat against Royals

Sam Kerr's Chicago Red Stars went down to a late goal as the Utah Royals kept their perfect start to their National Women's Soccer League campaign.

The Westfield Matildas captain saw her Chicago side shut out for the first time this season as Amy Rodriguez’s 84th-minute effort made it three straight wins for the ladder-leaders.

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Seeking to add to her two NWSL goals in 2019, Kerr almost opened the scoring after eight minutes but saw her shot saved by Royals goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart.

The task became even more difficult for the visiting Red Stars when Katie Johnson was sent off on 42 minutes.

The home side controlled the flow of possession in the second half, but Kerr remained dangerous on the break, with Barnhart coming to the Royals' rescue once again.

Utah had Chicago under pressure with the clock ticking down and Vero Boquete watched her 80th-minute free-kick cannon back off the crossbar as the Royals' luck appeared to be out.

That was until 132-cap United States striker Rodriguez found the back of the net late on with a guided strike to inflict third-placed Chicago’s first defeat of the season.

Kerr lined up alongside her Red Stars and Perth Glory teammates Alyssa Mautz and Katie Naughton, as well as Sydney FC midfielder Danielle Colaprico. 

Newcastle Jet Katie Stengel and Canberra United's Rachel Corsie were among the Westfield W-League stars on show for the top-of-the-ladder Royals, who are yet to concede a goal in this season's competition.