With limited rest following a Wednesday loss, FC Kansas City needed a spark off the bench if it was going to gain points on the road.
For the second straight game, that player ended up being Sarah Hagen, whose 87th minute equalizer forced a 2-2 draw against the second-ranked Chicago Red Stars in front of a sellout crowd of 3,477 at the Benedictine University Sports Complex.
FC Kansas City remained in fifth place with a 5-6-4 record, but fell further behind points-wise in the National Women’s Soccer League as the top three teams all won or drew. Chicago improved to 7-1-6.
“She was tremendous and we can’t forget that we played three days ago in Houston and have been on the road for seven days,” Blues coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “This was not an easy trip to finish on the road with Chicago, but I can’t say anything about the mentality and approach to the game because it was exactly what we wanted.”
Hagen’s start on the bench, along with fellow veterans Nicole Barnhart, Erika Tymrak and Frances Silva gave the Blues a different look than past weeks thanks to the return of the four Women’s World Cup champions. Rookie Katelyn Rowland started in Nicole Barnhart’s place in goal defending against Chicago’s NWSL-most seven international players.
Rowland, who was making her third start of the season, faced a one-on-one with Christen Press in the 13th minute and was drawn out of the box for an unguarded shot. It sailed into the center of the goal off an assist from Lori Chalupny to give Chicago the early lead.
The lead lasted till the 36th minute when Amy LePeilbet scored the equalizer off FCKC’s first corner kick of the evening. Lauren Holiday bent the ball toward the near post and connected with LePeilbet, who headed it in for her second goal of the season. It was Holiday’s second assist of the season.
Press added her second goal in the 75th minute by switching feet and hammering a shot into the top left corner of the goal past a leaping Rowland. It was Press’ team-best eighth goal despite only playing in her sixth game around U.S. women’s national team duty. Sofia Huerta was credited with the assist.
Hagen, who subbed in 10 minutes earlier, equalized again with a header in the 87th minute.
The Blues, who are defending NWSL champions, will return home for four consecutive games needing to gain ground on the fourth-ranked Houston Dash to keep their playoff hopes alive.
FC Kansas City 2
Red Stars 2
FC Kansas City
FC KANSAS CITY: Katelyn Rowland, Leigh Ann Robinson, Amy LePeilbet, Becky Sauerbrunn, Rebecca Moros (Sarah Hagen, 77th), Jen Buczkowski, Yael Averbuch (Frances Silva, 86th), Elizabeth Bogus (Erika Tymrak, 64th), Heather O’Reilly, Lauren Holliday, Amy Rodriguez.
CHICAGO: Michele Dalton, Abby Erceg, Julie Johnston, Rachel Quon (Vanessa DiBernardo, 63rd), Michelle Lomnicki, Taryn Hemmings, Alyssa Mautz, Lori Chalupny, Danielle Colaprico, Sofia Huerta (Melissa Tancredi, 75th), Christen Press.
FC Kansas City: 2, LePeilbet, 35th minute; 4, Hagen (O’Reilly), 86th minute. Chicago: 1, Press (Chalupny), 12th minute; 3, Press (Chalupny), 74th minute.
Shots on goal
FC Kansas City: None.
Chicago: Erceg (defensive handling), 42nd.
FC Kansas City: None.
Referee: Margaret Domka.
Assistant referee: Adrienne McDonald.
Assistant referee: Michael Dee.
4th official: Ian MacKay.
Announced attendance: 3,477.