Although a victory against top-ranked Seattle Reign FC would have been more rewarding, FC Kansas City settled for a draw that punched its ticket to the National Women’s Soccer League Playoffs for the second straight season.
Lauren Holiday and Amy Rodriguez connected for a first-half goal for FC Kansas City, but Seattle’s Megan Rapinoe scored an equalizer after the break for a 1-1 draw Saturday night at UMKC’s Durwood Stadium. The Washington Spirit’s 2-1 victory over the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday sealed the Blues’ spot in the playoffs.
“Of course we’re a little disappointed because we didn’t win, but I am very happy with the performance of the team,” Blues coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “At the end of the day we had a chance to win it, but didn’t put the opportunities away.”
With the tie, FC Kansas City is 11-6-5 with an 0-1-2 record against the league leaders. The Blues did protect their undefeated record at home, advancing to 7-0-4 with one game remaining.
In the sixth minute Holiday made a charge down the middle of the field and found Rodriguez streaking ahead of her. Holiday then chipped the ball over the defense, allowing Rodriguez to knock it past goalkeeper Hope Solo into the left side of the goal. It was Rodriguez’s 12th goal of the season. She trails only Seattle’s Kim Little, who has 14 goals in 20 games.
The Blues continued to make Solo’s job difficult with eight shots, including five on goal in the first half, but she was up for the challenge.
Solo finished with nine saves on 13 shots to minimize the damage. FC Kansas City’s Nicole Barnhart, who was the 2013 NWSL goalkeeper of the year, recorded three saves on Seattle’s 12 shots.
After taking just one shot in the first half, Seattle found its rhythm after the break. In the 68th minute, Sydney Leroux headed headed a ball and Barnhart deflected but it bounced straight to Rapinoe who converted the equalizer.
FC Kansas City has two games left in the regular season and is four points ahead of Washington for second place. Seattle has a 12-point lead in first place and has lost only one game this season.
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