The lingering debate from Saturday’s match between FC Kansas City and Sky Blue FC won’t be the foul assessed to FCKC defender Lauren Sesselmann in the 22nd minute.
By TODD ENGLE
Special to The Star
Sesselmann clearly dragged down Sky Blue FC forward Lisa De Vanna inside the box. That infraction led to a penalty kick – which Sophie Schmidt converted for her league-leading fifth goal – and was the lone score in a 1-0 victory for Sky Blue FC at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium.
Instead, the debate is over whether Sesselmann deserved the red card she was issued.
FCKC played the rest of the match down a player and generated more and better scoring chances.
The Blues did everything except find the back of the net, which made the loss sting even more.
“At this point it doesn’t really matter,” FCKC coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “I have to watch the game again and see it again before I make any conclusions or comment on that.”
FCKC midfielder Lauren Cheney agreed with that sentiment.
“I wasn’t close enough to the play to make that call,” Cheney said. “Whatever happened after that, it was unfortunate for us.”
Not even De Vanna could or would say if the call was worthy of a red card.
“I don’t know if it was a red card-offense. It was definitely a penalty,” De Vanna said. “Maybe a yellow card. I’m not too sure, but it was definitely a penalty. Obviously it was a game-changer for us.”
FCKC, 3-2-2, didn’t make Sesselmann available for interviews after the match.
The Blues’ best chance to get an equalizer was in stoppage time, when Renae Cuellar had a chance near the top of the 18-yard box, but Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Brittany Cameron came off her line to stuff the shot and make her fifth save.
“It’s hard going a man down so quickly in the game,” Cheney said. “Obviously we’re a possession-oriented team. We have a lot of girls with high soccer IQs, and we were able to keep the ball because of that. I thought we had the better of the chances and could have tied it up.”
Sky Blue FC improved to 6-1-1, despite being outplayed most of the match with a man advantage.
“If you go back and watch the tape, they may have had more quality chances than we did,” Sky Blue FC coach Jim Gabarra said.
That’s a bittersweet fact for FCKC to digest after the loss.
“Our players deserve a lot of credit being a man down for 70 minutes, and for the most part I would say it was hard to tell we were a man down,” Andonovski said. “You have to capitalize on those chances, regardless.”
FCKC won’t return to action until June 6 at Portland. Six players on the roster will leave the club for the U.S-Canada exhibition June 2. Sauerbrunn, Cheney, Nicole Barnhart and Kristie Mewis are on the U.S. roster. Sesselmann and Scott are on the Canadian roster.