Getting a ball past Seattle Reign (and U.S. women’s national team) goalkeeper Hope Solo isn’t a simple task.
By TODD ENGLE
Special to the Star
FC Kansas City found out as much early in Saturday’s match when a brilliant save, a carom off the post and an offside call kept the Blues off the board.
The Blues’ Lauren Holiday figured it out in the 39th minute, with a brilliant strike from near the top of the 18-yard box that proved to be the difference in FC Kansas City’s 2-0 victory against Seattle. Erika Tymrak, who assisted on Holiday’s goal, scored in the 86th minute.
“I think we created a lot of chances, and I think a few of those chances were easier than the ones we actually finished,” Holiday said. “Erika has great vision, especially when she’s running at people. She ran at someone, I made a run from her, she found me. I was able to take a touch with my left foot and hit it far post.”
It was the 10th goal of the year for Holiday (nee Cheney; she married NBA player Jrue Holiday on July 7), tying her for the National Women’s Soccer League lead.
FC Kansas City, 8-4-5, extended its unbeaten streak to seven matches. The Blues also snapped a streak of three straight draws, during which they displayed an unsettling habit of letting late leads slip away.
The Blues allowed goals in the 90th minute and stoppage time to turn a win into a draw against Chicago in their last match.
“They all contributed in their own way, and everyone made a difference in their own way,” FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Lauren’s goal, and even Erika’s goal was a thing of beauty.”
Tymrak’s laser from 18 yards out gave the Blues cushion they didn’t need. They generated seven shots on goal, compared to one for Seattle.
“I think it’s one of our best offensively. I think each game we get better and better. It was a good effort. We were able to create opportunities and put two away,” Tymrak said.
Seattle, 4-10-3, also came in with a six-match unbeaten streak, marked by four victories. That stretch coincided with the arrivals of Solo and Megan Rapinoe, two of the top names on the women’s national team.
But the Reign has now dropped all four games against FC Kansas City without managing a single goal.
The Blues attacked from the opening whistle. Solo had five saves, two of which were of the highlight-reel variety.
“If you look at the course of the last seven games, we’ve been on the attack just fine. Possession and attack is not our problem. Tonight it was our problem. We didn’t play well, all across the board,” Solo said. “Not just offensively, but our team-shape defensively. I felt bad for our defenders. When you don’t have team-shape defensively, you can’t defend. It just wasn’t our best night.”
FC Kansas City now has 29 points, and is in second place in the NWSL standings.