Liberty native Shea Groom said she isn’t sure the last time she was shown a red card — perhaps sometime during her youth career.
The FC Kansas City player was shown one on Saturday after picking up her second yellow card in the 47th minute of an eventual 1-1 draw against the Portland Thorns in front of 3,022 fans at Swope Soccer Village.
FCKC coach Vlatko Andonovski took issue with both cards.
“I have to say, the first card was definitely not a card. I think it was one of the better tackles of the game, and we could’ve eventually scored on that one because it was an interception,” Andonovski said.
“The second one, the referee didn’t call a foul until some of the Portland players came to her, and then she was shown a card. You know what? This league needs better referees.”
The second card came after Groom collided with Portland goalkeeper Michelle Betos going after a 50-50 ball. FCKC captain Becky Sauerbrunn said the referee told her she issued the card because Groom’s studs were up on the tackle.
“It was a 50-50 ball. You know me,” Groom said. “I’m going to go into a 50-50, especially if it means a scoring opportunity for my team.”
Portland coach Mark Parsons said he didn’t get a clear view of either card.
“I don’t know if both yellows for Groom are yellows because I didn’t see it clean enough, but how they handled it and dealt with it was superb,” Parsons said.
It was the end of a topsy-turvy night for Groom, who saw her penalty kick in the 20th minute get turned aside before getting FCKC on the board in the 30th minute.
Heather O’Reilly curled in a cross from the right side, and Groom smashed it home with a low, diving header that gave the Blues a 1-0 lead.
“Heather put a great ball in, and we’ve been working on that all week: just getting in the box, putting yourself in position to score. I was happy to be in the right place at the right time,” Groom said.
FCKC’s defense held firm for the majority of the second half, despite being a person down after Groom got the red card.
Portland, 1-0-1, equalized off a set piece in 78th minute. Lindsey Horan headed home a corner kick from U.S. national team member Tobin Heath.
“If you have a good defensive shape, you can take on any onslaught,” Sauerbrunn said. “I thought defensively we were so disciplined, and it was very hard for them to break us down. ... I’m really proud of the defensive discipline and the never-die attitude that we had.”
FCKC, 0-1-1, plays its first road match of the season on May 1 at Seattle Reign FC.
FC KANSAS CITY 1
Portland: 2, Lindsey Horan, 78th minute. Kansas City: 1, Shea Groom, 30th minute.
Kansas City: Groom, 41st; Groom, 48th.
Kansas City: Groom, 48th (second yellow card).