After having a week off due to the situation in Boston last weekend, FC Kansas City was back on the field for their second game of the season against the Seattle Reign at Shawnee Mission District Stadium. A consistent rain throughout the day kept a number of people away, and while announced attendance was just over 4,000, I doubt that many were actually there.
The Blues though came out strong from the start, taking the game to Seattle, but forcing many chances early on. KC did well possession the ball as well, working the ball around the back through Becky Sauerbrunn, Lauren Sesselman, and Nicole Barnhart. After much of the possession early on, FC KC finally broke in the 21st minute. A Lauren Cheney corner kick floated to the back post. The went over the hands of Michelle Betos and was headed in by Sinead Farrelly giving Kansas City the 1-0 lead. Seattle almost responded immediately as a cross from KC's left side was met by Seattle captain Keelin Winters in the middle of the 6 yard box. Winters could only get a toe on the ball and poked it right to Barnhart who had done well to move across her goal mouth. She knocked down the shot and covered the rebound. Seattle continued to pressure KC's goal but the chances that they did create were easily handled by Barnhart. In the 35th though she needed some help as a corner was cleared off the line after she missed going for a corner kick. Desiree Scott though cleared the ball off the line. KC had a few chances late in the half, specifically coming from the set pieces of Cheney she fired a free kick that went through the wall and just wide of the far post, and then off another corner Farrelly headed the ball back Sauerbrunn who couldn't get a clean shot off. KC went in at the half up 1-0.
To start the second half, KC came out and really pushed the game. In the 50th minute KC really should have grabbed a second goal. A Cheney free kick again went through the wall and was saved by Betos at the near post. Betos didn't hold the shot and Sauerbrunn was the first to react, but she fired the rebound off the cross bar from inside the 6 yard box keeping the score 1-0. KC kept pushing the game, Renae Cuellar went down in the box shortly after on a ball over the top but no call was made. Seattle was also trying to find a way into the game too, many of their chances were coming from set pieces, the Reign had a number of long set pieces that bounced in the box that Barnhart did well to handle in the wet conditions. She didn't do as well on a corner in the 63rd. Barnhart did well enough on the first attempt punching the corner out and away, but the ball was crossed back into the box and Barnhart wiffed on that attempt, but Seattle couldn't capitalize on the opportunity. While Seattle searched for the equalizer, they pushed further up the field and in the 71st KC made them pay. Cheney cleared the end for KC up towards Cuellar who was riding the last defender. The ball went into space behind Seattle's defense. Cuellar raced onto the ball took a touch or two and buried the shot past Betos and into the net to double the lead for KC. From there Seattle controlled possession but really it was Kansas City that looked the more likely of the two sides to grab another goal. In the end KC took the game 2-0 getting their first win and first shutout in team history and improved their record to 1-0-1, while Seattle fell to 0-2-1. The two teams meet next week in Seattle's home opener.
Blues Player of the Match - Lauren Cheney - Cheney had a superb game tonight, recording both assists and looking extremely dangerous throughout the game for the Blues.