NWSL NEWS: FC Kansas City Edge Chicago Red Stars at Toyota Park
FC Kansas City stalled the Chicago Red Stars’ playoff berth with a 3-2 victory on Wednesday night at Toyota Park. Shea Groom’s brace and additional goal by Frances Silva was able to edge Chicago’s strikes from Christen Press and Sofia Huerta. Chicago currently sits in fourth place on goal differential as the NWSL heads into the final two weeks of the regular season.
NWSL Soccer News: The Chicago Red Stars missed out on punching their National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) playoff ticket early on Wednesday evening, courtesy of a 3-2 home defeat to visiting Midwest rivals and defending champs FC Kansas City. While Chicago’s Christen Press and Sofia Huerta continued their outstanding runs of form with goals before the break and late in the second half, respectively, it wasn’t enough to overcome a brace by FCKC striker Shea Groom and an additional strike by teammate Frances Silva.
The Red Stars hit the post twice in the opening stages of the match, with the first agonizing miss coming off the foot of Casey Short from inside the area. Worse yet, the visitors struck at the other end on the immediate counter-attack, as long-time U.S. regular Heather O’Reilly sprinted down the left before centering low to Groom from the by-line, her 23-year-old attacking partner stabbing the ball into the roof of the net from close range. Moments later, Chicago’s Press came within inches of equalizing when her first-time effort from the right side of the box smashed off the far post.
Instead of Chicago converting its attacking edge into an edge on the score sheet, it would again be FCKC punishing their opponents for a missed opportunity. Moments after Huerta’s look, Tiffany McCarty took full advantage of a lack of defensive pressure when she swung in a cross from the right flank that was tapped home at the doorstep by an unmarked Silva.
Things went farther south for the hosts 15 minutes later, as O’Reilly whipped in a ball from the left that was nodded back across at the near post by Caroline Kastor, Groom completing her brace with a determined diving header from close range that snuck by the hands of netminder Alyssa Naeher and inside the right post.
Chicago pulled one back in the 87th minute of the match. Danielle Colaprico sent a hopeful ball into the penalty area that was kept alive by Arin Gilliland and fell to red-hot attacker Huerta near the left post. Sending a low drive past the onrushing Barnhart, the second-year professional saw her attempt cleared by Becky Sauerbrunn, but it was judged to have crossed the line prior to the center back’s last-ditch effort. Huerta came close to leveling the score moments later, as she received the ball from Vanessa DiBernardo on the left side of the box and blasted a thunderous shot just over the frame.
The Chicago Red Stars look to book their trip to the NWSL postseason with a draw or win in this coming Sunday’s rematch with the defending champs at Kansas City’s Swope Soccer Village.
Head Coach Rory Dames’ squad then returns home for its big regular season finale against league-leading Washington Spirit on Saturday, September 24.
Source/Photo Credit: Chicago Red Stars