Sunday, July 21, 2013

FCKC Sweep Season Series with Seattle

FC Kansas City extended their undefeated streak to seven games by shutting out the visiting Seattle Reign 2-0.  In front of 5,271 fans at Verizon Wireless Field, Lauren Holiday and Erika Tymrak chipped in goals past Seattle Reign goalkeeper, Hope Solo.  Nicole Barnhart recorded her eighth clean-sheet of the season as FC Kansas City doesn’t allow a single goal allowed against Seattle this season. 
Although both teams came into this match unbeaten in their past six games, Seattle had four wins in their streak versus four draws in Kansas City’s.  After failing to score against Kansas City in their first three attempts this season, the Reign’s confidence level was high.  Alternatively, FC Kansas City had sure wins melt into unsettling draws as the clock closed down in the past three games.
With no games since last Sunday, Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski had time to work with his side on finishing games in the manner they started them.  The extra work paid off.  The ‘Blues’ came out of the game dominating possession and having multiple offensive chances in the opening minutes of the game.  Merritt Mathias and Melissa Henderson each broke through the Seattle Reign offside trap, but Hope Solo was able to get her hands on each of them to keep the game scoreless.  Making her home debut with her new name, Lauren Holiday broke the stalemate in the 39th minute.  She collected a pass across the top of the penalty box from Erika Tymrak and shot a hard line-drive shot across the goal to the far side of the net and giving her side a 1-0 lead that would last until halftime.
A lead coming out of half is nothing to be taken lightly and Kansas City was determined to not only hold onto it, but try to add to their advantage in the second half.  Becky Sauerbrunn and Lauren Sesselmann held the defensive line and thwarted any attempts from Seattle to get on goal.  At one point, Nicole Barnhart left her line to collect a shot and was knocked off the ball by a Seattle forward.  Although the ball fell to the feet of former FC Kansas City forward, Renae Cuellar, the KC defense swarmed to the ball and she was unable to get a clean look on goal before Desiree Scott cleared the ball from danger. 
As the clock ticked past the 85th minute mark, FC Kansas City increased its pressure rather than sit back as they had done in previous games.  Rather than wait for the other team to bring the ball to her and her teammates, Erika Tymrak collected a throw-in from Jen Buczkowski and dribbled through four Seattle defenders before curling a shot around the outstretched arms of Solo.  The rookie’s sixth goal of the season gave her side the 2-0 lead that would last through the final minutes and give Kansas City their eighth win of the season.  Kansas City now sits in second place on the NWSL table, two points ahead of Portland who plays tomorrow.

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