The FC Kansas City Blues of the National Women’s Soccer League began their final regular season game, on Sunday Aug. 18, needing just one point to secure home field advantage for the four team playoffs. The Blues are tied with the Western New York Flash at 11-5-5 with 38 points. A loss on Sunday would give the Flash the advantage in the tie and New York would win home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
The final game was played at Verizon Wireless Field in Overland Park, Kan. against the Chicago Red Stars. The game would be the final game of the season for the Red Stars who had a record of 7-8-6 going into Sunday’s game.
Nicole Barnhart the leading goalkeeper in the NWSL had to be bailed out in the fifth minute of the game when she was drawn too far into the field, leaving the Blues goal unprotected. Lauren Sesselmann was able to assist by driving the ball across field and away from the competition. Leigh Ann Robinson had to stop play momentarily due to an injury to her leg. Play was again stopped in the 10th minute due to the leg injury to Robinson. Courtney Jones was sent into the game to substitute for Robinson.
In the 20th minute Erika Tymrak took control of the ball and dribbled it from mid-field towards the Red Star goal. She was able to pass the ball to Courtney Jones on the right side of the field, who dribbled and then sent the ball flying towards the left side of the goal. Erin McLeod the goalkeeper for the Red Stars was unable to make the play and the Blues took the lead at one to zero.
In a very physical first half the Red Stars had several attempts at goal, but were denied by the Blues defense until the 45th minute. Jen Hoy for the Red Stars was able to go nearly one-on-one against Barnhart who was unable to make the play. Inka Grings was given the assist on the goal. The goal was only the second of the season for Hoy.
In the first minute of stoppage Barnhart made a diving play to prevent a second Red Star goal. The Blues drove the ball downfield and Desiree Scott made a kick towards the goal. The goalkeeper was unable to make the play, but the goal was nullified by the referee declaring a Blues player to be off sides.
The second half began with Lydia Vandenbergh of the Red Stars being substituted for Adriana Leon. In the 63rd minute Sinead Farrelly entered the match for the Blues replacing Courtney Jones. In the 65th minute Inka Grings was given a yellow card for a reckless foul, after pushing a Blues player to the ground.
In the 68th minute Tymrak received the ball and was dribbling it quickly towards the Red Stars goal. Jackie Santacaterina of the Red Stars was called for a tactical foul, after knocking Tymrak to the ground. In the 72nd minute of the game the trainer for the Blues was called to the field for a minor injury to Lauren Sesselmann.
In the first minute of stoppage with an assist by Julianne Sitch, Jen Hoy was able to kick a goal to the left side and past Barnhart. The goal knocked the FC KC Blues from the top seed to the second. The Blues will host a playoff game at Verizon Wireless Field in Overland Park, Kan. on Saturday Aug. 24.