Sam Kerr notched a hat trick in the game’s final 12 minutes as Sky Blue FC stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 at home over an FC Kansas City side playing with 10 after Shea Groom was red carded at the end of the first half.
Kerr’s hat trick pulled her into a tie with Megan Rapinoe for the league lead with nine goals this season. It also gave her 35 career goals, moving her two ahead of Jess McDonald for the most goals in NWSL history.
The win came in Sky Blue FC’s historic 100th NWSL game, in front of a home crowd of 2,091, as the Jersey side became the first team to reach the mark.
It’s the 11th all-time hat trick in NWSL history and the latest start to an NWSL hat trick, with Kerr’s first goal coming in the 78th minute.
With FC Kansas City up 2-0, Groom was ejected in the final minute of first half stoppage time after an incident involving Erica Skroski. The play started with Skroski pulling Groom’s left arm from behind. Groom then turned and raised both arms, appearing to make contact above the shoulders on Skroski.
After blowing the whistle, referee Amber O’Connor conferred with both assistant referees, Benjamin Wooten and Amilcar Sicaju. O’Connor then issued a yellow card to Skorski and a red card to Groom. The red card means Groom will also be suspended for Kansas City’s next match.
Sky Blue FC came out strong in the second half, pressing for the win, which they would get thanks to Kerr’s performance.
Her first goal came in the 78th minute, a brilliant diving header after a perfect cross into the box from Sky Blue FC defender Kelley O’Hara. Kerr snuck past defender Becky Sauerbrunn to get on the end of the pass from O’Hara, sending her header to the near post and past goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart.
Her second goal came just three minutes later, a right-footed shot from about 15 yards out to tie the game. Daphne Corboz threaded it through the KC defense, to the feet of Kerr, who one-timed it past Barnhart to make it 2-2.
But Sam Kerr was not done, not on Saturday night at Yurcak Field. In the 90th minute, with Sauerbrunn marking her tightly, Kerr took a pass from second half sub Taylor Lytle, and calmly slotted a right-footed shot past Barnhart to the lower left corner of the goal for the game-winner
Sky Blue FC’s win on Saturday night was also a comeback win for the NWSL record books. It’s only the second time in NWSL regular season history that a team has erased a two goal deficit to win a game. The first was September 25, 2016, as Seattle came back from 2-0 to win 3-2 on the road over Houston (though the Reign’s comeback started earlier than Sky Blue’s). It’s also the eighth time in NWSL history that a team came back for a win after trailing with 15 minutes or less to go in the game. The seventh time happened a week and a half ago, also at Yurcak Field, when Orlando scored two late goals in a 3-2 win over Sky Blue.
FCKC was also on the losing end in the 2013 playoffs as Portland erased a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2 in extra time.
FC Kansas City started the match off strong, with goals from Katie Bowen in the 29th minute and Christina Gibbons in the 42nd, before Groom was sent off. But in the second half, the Blues just could not compete with Sky Blue’s sustained attack. Kansas City’s last shot came in the 53rd minute, followed by 18 unanswered offensive attempts — including Kerr’s three goals — from Sky Blue FC.
Sky Blue FC are now 7-6-1 with 22 points. FC Kansas City are now 3-6-4 with 13 points.