With home-field advantage already locked up for the National Women’s Soccer League semifinals, FC Kansas City finished the regular-season portion of its schedule on Saturday with a loss.
Although the Blues fell 2-1 to the Chicago Red Stars at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill., coach Vlatko Andonovski said the team benefited from its ability to rest some starters and get their backups some playing time.
“We did our part the game before, and we just wanted to give some of the girls that don’t get a lot of minutes the chance to prove themselves and show what they can do,” Andonovski said.
One of those unfamiliar faces was Sara Keane. She started in goal for Nicole Barnhart, who has been battling a right ankle sprain for the past several weeks. Keane graduated from West Virginia and was picked up as a free agent in the offseason.
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Chicago struck first with a goal from Melissa Tancredi in the ninth minute, ending a two-game shutout streak for FC Kansas City in the series. Tancredi was able to corral a rebound after goalkeeper Keane deflected Christen Press’ initial shot.
Press added to the lead in the 40th minute when she drew Keane out of the goal and sent a shot past her outstretched arms.
Just before the half, FCKC’s Morgan Marlborough answered by sending a rocket into the top right corner of the goal past Karina LeBlanc. It was Marlborough’s second start of the season and her second goal in nine appearances.
After a two-week break, FC Kansas City will play host to the No. 3 seed in a semifinals match on Aug. 23 at UMKC’s Durwood Stadium. The Blues are undefeated at home with an 8-0-4 record this season.
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