The celebration almost acted as a collective sigh of relief.
After Yael Averbuch’s free kick deflected into the Orlando Pride goal early in the second half, FC Kansas City’s entire lineup swarmed her in joy.
It marked the first time in five games the Blues had held a lead and their first goal in three games.
The bigger sigh of relief came after the final whistle, when FCKC claimed its first win of the season, 2-0 on Saturday at Swope Park Soccer Village.
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“This whole season we’ve stayed positive,” said Erika Tymrak, who scored the Blues’ second goal on a bending shot into the lower corner of the net. “Everyone wants to be here, and the positivity just kind of grew and it showed tonight. We just have to keep our heads up, keep grinding at it and the goals are going to come and the wins are going to come.”
The Blues, 1-4-2, have watched plenty of their shots graze the crossbar or bounce off the post this season, so when Averbuch’s shot ended up in the goal, it represented the first bit of good fortune of the year.
But though it received a nice bounce, FCKC’s win can hardly be considered lucky. Tymrak’s goal should be nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week honors and the Blues dominated possession and scoring chances the second half.
“Coming out on the field, we know that luck isn’t just going to come,” FCKC coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “We know we’re going to have to turn it around. I’m glad the players stepped up with the right mentality and turned it around themselves.”
After a stalemate the first 40 minutes in which neither side seriously threatened, FCKC began to take control the last few minutes of the first half.
Tiffany McCarty’s shot just before the break barely cleared the crossbar, and after Averbuch’s shot marked the first goal against the Pride, 4-3-0, in almost four games, Tymrak and Alexa Newfield both just missed goals before Tymrak connected.
“Our players’ confidence grew a little bit as the game went along,” Andonovski said. “When we play comfortable and use our creativity, we can be very dangerous.”