(Mar. 22, 2014) – FC Kansas City battled for 90 minutes in the cool air of St. Louis Soccer Park in the first exhibition between two National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) teams. In front of an estimated crowd over 2,300, the two Midwest rivals fought back and forth as players from both sides fight for their position in their respective lineups and rosters. In the end, each team was able to notch a score and the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
FC Kansas City returned three U.S. Women’s National Team players to the lineup tonight, as Becky Sauerbrunn, Lauren Holiday and Amy Rodriguez each earned a start. Teaming up with 2013 Rookie of the Year, Erika Tymrak, Holiday was able to control most of the midfield play. Early on, though, it did not translate into many scoring opportunities.
As the first half progressed, Rodriguez showed her return to elite play. She made several beautiful runs off the ball from her outside midfield position. Her speediness was apparent as she beat her defender to the ball multiple times in the opening half. Despite controlling possession for much of the half, Kansas City was unable to find the net.
Opening the second half, Chicago pressured the Kansas City defense early, hoping to find a crack in the backline. Red Stars forward and St. Louis native, Alyssa Mautz excited the crowd in the 51st minute. Collecting a pass from Adriana Leon on the left side, she crossed the top of the penalty area and beat FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart to the near side.
Shortly after that, both teams made several on-field changes. For Kansas City, Merritt Mathias, Nia Williams, Melissa Henderson, Maegan Kelly, and Frances Silva all entered the game. Nicole Barnhart also gave way to Sarah Keane in the goal.
In the 65th minute, FC Kansas City faced a scare as Holiday went down hard on a challenge from Chicago. After being attended to by the training staff, she gingerly walked off the field, replaced by Jenna Richmond. Fans from St. Louis to KC breathed a sigh of relief shortly after as it was announced she merely had a neck bruise and will be fine.
FC Kansas City was able to tie the game in the 83rd minute. Maegan Kelly held the ball outside the Chicago goal box and sent a nifty heel pass to Jen Buczkowski streaking down the sideline. The veteran midfielder launched a perfect pass into the box where Melissa Henderson was able to touch it into the net.
Kansas City would keep up the pressure as the seconds ticked down, but they were unable to find another score. The first exhibition match between two NWSL teams ended in a 1-1 draw. FC Kansas City will next take on the University of Kansas in Lawrence on March 29 at 1:00p.m. CT.
GOALS 1 2 F
Chicago Red Stars 0 1 1
FC Kansas City 0 1 1
Goal Time Team Goal Scorer Assist
1 51 Chicago Red Stars Alyssa Mautz Adriana Leon
2 83 FC Kansas City Melissa Henderson Jen Buczkowski
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Photo courtesy of FC Kansas City.