FC Kansas City Blues hosted the Portland Thorns on Saturday Aug. 24 at the Verizon Wireless Field in Overland Park, Kan. The match-up was the first game of the playoff season for the National Women’s Soccer League. The Blues came into the game seeded second with a record of 11-6-5. Portland ended the regular season in third with a record of 11-6-5. The second playoff match was to be held at 7 p.m. on the Western New York Flash home field.
The Portland Thorns began with a very physical game, controlling the ball and dominating the field for the first ten minutes. The Blues only had one shot at goal in the ten minutes and it went high over the goal.
In the 12th minute of the competition the Kansas City Blues took the ball and passed it around on the Portland end of the field. A pass from Leigh Ann Robinson to Erika Tymrak resulted in Tymrak kicking the ball towards the left side of the goal and past Portland goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc for the first score of the game.
In the 16th minute the Blues successfully defended their end of the field against several shots by the Thorns to goal. Another attempt by the Thorns in the 17th minute had Blues goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart diving for the ball, which flew wide of the goal. In the 18th minute Barnhart again went to the air and was able to tip a Thorns kick over the goal.
The 25th minute brought another drive by the Blues to the Portland end of the field. The ball was passed to Merritt Mathias, who sent a kick to the center of the field in front of the goal. Melissa Henderson was able to hit the ball with her head, passing LeBlanc for the second Kansas City goal.
Portland was able to get within one of the lead in the 33rd minute when Tobin Heath took a pass from Angie Kerr and was able to kick it into the Blues goal. In the 34th minute Heath was knocked to the ground and had to be assisted by trainer.
At the end of the first half Kansas City led the Thorns 2 to 1. In the first half Kansas City had five shots compared to seven by Portland. Both teams had five fouls and Portland had two saves, while Kansas City had one.
In the 50th minute a caution was issued on Marian Dougherty of the Thorns for a reckless foul. In the 56th minute Portland substituted Tiffany Weimer for Danielle Foxhoven. The 58th minute gave Portland an opportunity to tie the game, but the shot at goal went wide left. A second caution was issued to Portland on Allie Long for a reckless foul.
The game was tied at two when Tiffany Weimer took a pass from Nikki Marshall and drove it over the head of Barnhart and into the back of the goal. A pass from Tymrak to Holliday in the 72nd minute led to a shot at goal which was caught by LeBlanc.
In the 72nd minute a yellow card for a reckless foul was issued to Desiree Scott after she had knocked Tobin Heath to the ground. In the 74th minute Casey Loyd was sent in for Melissa Henderson on the Blues. In the same time frame Courtney Wetzel replaced Tobin Heath for the Thorns. Courtney Jones was substituted for Merritt Mathias in the 82nd minute after Mathias had been knocked to the ground.
The 86th minute brought a yellow card on Jen Buczkowski for a reckless foul. Three minutes of stoppage was added to regulation time. At the end of time the score remained tied 2-2. The teams were given a five minute break and then play resumed with two 15 minute sessions.
In the 91st minute Barnhart had to go high to block a kick by the Thorns. She was able to reach it with a hand to knock it over the goal. In the 92nd minute Allie Long was able to set up a shot at goal, kicking it past Barnhart for a Portland goal. She was assisted on the play by Tiffany Weimer. The first overtime period ended with Portland ahead 3-2.
The second overtime period opened with the Blues substituting Sinead Farrelly for Lauren Sesselmann. Portland substituted Tina Ellertson for Angie Kerr. At the end of the second overtime session Portland held on to their lead to end the season for the FC Kansas City Blues. Portland will play the winner of the Western New York Flash and Sky Blue FC Saturday evening.