After a week-long international break, FC Kansas City returned to action Saturday, extending its unbeaten home streak to seven games, but it wasn’t exactly how FCKC would’ve liked it.
In a match featuring a pair of teams in the middle of the NWSL standings, FCKC finished in a 2-2 draw with the Seattle Reign at Swope Soccer Village.
After Seattle took a 2-1 lead in the 81st minute off a goal from Nahomi Kawasumi, FCKC’s Maegan Kelly scored the equalizer three minutes later.
“Unfortunately we didn’t win, but it’s a great feeling to be able to help and leave an impact on the field,” said Kelly who scored her first career goal in the NWSL. “We’ve been practicing getting in front of the defender, and I was able to do that in a crucial moment.”
FCKC had several chances to score in the early going. Shea Groom set up fellow forward Sydney Leroux with a cross in the box during the 6th minute, but Leroux’s header missed just wide-left.
Groom continued to give Seattle trouble in the box, as she got a touch on a dangerous ball in the 14th minute, but it wasn’t enough to beat Seattle goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer.
FCKC was able to capitalize nine minutes later, when Alexa Newfield chipped a shot past Kopmeyer’s out-tretched arms to put FCKC up 1-0 in the 23rd minute.
Seattle didn’t take long to respond as FCKC surrendered a free-kick in the 31st minute, when Kawasumi found Megan Rapinoe, who blasted a shot from 40-yards out that grazed Nicole Barnhart’s fingertips and went into the net. It was Rapinoe’s fifth goal of the season, tying her for most in the NWSL. Kawasumi leads the the league in assists (seven).
“I think we limited her for the most part,” FCKC manager Vlatko Andonovski said about Rapinoe. “She’s quick and good on the ball, she creates things on her own. At the end of the day she still scored a goal, so we have to do a better job (defensively).”
FCKC continued to up the pressure in the second half, not allowing a Seattle shot attempt until the 62nd minute. As both sides battled, the match got chippy when three yellow cards were handed out within three minutes (73-75).
“We stepped up at the end,” Andonovski said. “But we got a little comfortable, and there was that breakdown when they scored; we didn’t defend well on a one-versus-one situation.”
Seattle missed a huge chance in the 74th minute when Katie Johnson started the attack, drawing FCKC goalie Barnhart to the top of the box. As Barnhart tripped, it seemed like a sure goal for Seattle, but Johnson’s shot was headed out of danger by FCKC’s Rachel Corsie.
FCKC’s unbeaten streak at home dates back to the end of last season.
Andonovski said, “Overall, I think we’re doing well at home. It’s an awesome vibe, awesome crowd. It definitely helps playing in front of them.”
FCKC will have a week to adjust as it travels to Seattle for a rematch next Saturday.