Monday, July 29, 2013

FC Kansas City Stay on Top of the NWSL

Despite travel delays, rain and lightning delays and rough field conditions, FC Kansas City defeated Sky Blue FC for the first time this season at in front of a small but dedicated crowd Yurcak Field.  Courtney Jones converted a Lauren Holiday corner kick late in the second half that would stand as the game winner.  The win evens the season series between the teams, each team with a win, a loss and a draw. 
Sky Blue FC has held the first position in the National Women’s Soccer League standings for most of the season.  On Wednesday, by defeating the visiting Boston Breakers, FC Kansas City assumed that position.  Eager to hold onto their lead, FC Kansas City first had to endure a lengthy travel delay yesterday and another lengthy delay before kickoff due to lightning surrounding the field of play.  Once the teams kicked off, nearly 90 minutes after the scheduled time, FC Kansas City came out strong.  Holding possession for nearly the entire half, they managed five shots on goal, but none of them could find their way past Sky Blue goalkeeper, Brittany Cameron.

Cameron and FC Kansas City goalkeeper, Nicole Barnhart, lead the league in many statistical categories thanks to their superior play and solid defense from their back lines.  Barnhart was on top of her game tonight.  Sky Blue managed five solid shots on goal, but she was up to the task on all of them.  Her counterpart, Cameron, was nearly as solid.  However, in the 76th minute, Lauren Holiday sent an in-swinging corner kick right towards the center of the goal.  Courtney Jones leapt in front of the rushing Cameron to knock home the goal.  On June 26th, Sky Blue found themselves down to FC Kansas City, but scored two goals in the final minutes to salvage a draw.  Hoping for some more late heroics, they pushed the play towards the KC end several times in the final minutes.  This time, the Blues were ready for the onslaught and held onto the lead through the final whistle.

The win keeps FC Kansas City on top of the NWSL standings, four points ahead of Sky Blue FC and the Portland Thorns.  They face off against the Thorns in Portland next Sunday, August 4th at 7:30p.m. CT.  The game will be broadcast on Fox Soccer Channel and fans are invited to catch it at the Official Watch Party home, Futbol Club KC.  The team does not return home until the final game of the regular season, August 18th at 3:10p.m. against the Chicago Red Stars.

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