FC Kansas City concludes its Pacific Northwest tour with a 1-0 victory over the Seattle Reign. Erika Tymrak scored the game’s only goal in the 63rd minute, her second goal in as many games. Nicole Barnhart records her fourth win of the season, all of them by shutout, in front of 1,377 fans at Seattle’s Starfire Stadium.
After losing a tough, physical and emotionally-draining game against the Portland Thorns on Thursday night, FC Kansas City needed to come out of this game with some points in order to keep in the top half of the National Women’s Soccer League table. The task would be especially difficult tonight with the loss of leading scorer, Renae Cuellar, who was injured in Thursday night’s match.
Both teams began play hoping to control the midfield, with FC Kansas City’s Desiree Scott and Kristie Mewis battling to keep the ball in the ‘Blues’ possession. While both teams were able to put together dangerous attacks, Kansas City was able to hit five shots on goal. Seattle was only able to muster one. At halftime, the teams went into the locker room with a 0-0 tie.
Although not quite at the halfway point of the season, a draw would not help Kansas City in their attempts to stay on the top half of the NWSL standings. A win would catapult them above the Boston Breakers, who lost to the Chicago Red Stars today, into fourth place. Coach Vlatko Andonovski pushed his players to fight through the fatigue (five Kansas City players were playing in their third game in seven days due to the U.S.A. vs. Canada friendly last Sunday) and push for the first goal.
Erika Tymrak got her second start of the season, tonight filling in for the injured Cuellar. She made every minute count as she continuously was able to bring the ball up the field with speed and creativity. Midway through the second half, Lauren Cheney found Tymrak on the right side with a lofting cross. Tymrak controlled the ball and carried it up the byline towards the waiting Reign goalkeeper, Hope Solo. Shooting near-post, Tymrak caught Solo off guard and the ball bounced off the goalkeeper into the net. Although officially scored at game time as an own-goal, it likely will be credited to Tymrak upon review from league officials.Rather than sit back to preserve the 1-0 victory, Andonovski inserted speedy Courtney Jones to try and push the attack right back towards the Seattle defense. Kansas City was able to get off nine shots in the second half, although only the one from Tymrak found the inside of the goal.