FC Kansas City leaves Chicago with all three points in 3-1 win
Leroux, Bowen and Kelly all scored to help keep FCKC in the playoff picture
Sydney Leroux celebrates her goal with FC Kansas City during the first half against the Chicago Red Stars. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel for isiphots.com)
Sydney Leroux celebrates her goal with FC Kansas City during the first half against the Chicago Red Stars. (Photo credit: Daniel Bartel for isiphots.com)

FC Kansas City scored twice in six minutes during the first half thanks to Sydney Leroux and Katie Bowen, and kept the lead until the final whistle in the 3-1 win over the Chicago Red Stars. Forward Shea Groom provided both assists, and substitute Maegan Kelly scored the final insurance goal with a chip over Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart saved a penalty from Red Stars forward Christen Press during first-half stoppage time after Casey Short drew a foul in the box. But midfielder Julie Ertz provided the lone tally at Toyota Park for Chicago on Sunday, denying Barnhart the clean sheet.

Leroux kicked off scoring thanks to Shea Groom first stripping the ball from the Red Stars, then threading through traffic and feeding Leroux as she called for it near the penalty spot. While Naeher came out and went for the save with her feet, Leroux’s low finish went into the left corner of the goal to put FC Kansas City up on the road 1-0.

Six minutes later, Groom stripped Sam Johnson and had plenty of options in the box for the final touch past Naeher. Defender Katie Bowen had the wide open look at goal for the 2-0 lead.

Groom would be involved in one other key play before the end of the first half, but this time it involved being shown a yellow card for the foul on Casey Short. Press stepped up for the PK, but Barnhart guessed correctly with her diving save.

Chicago came out swinging at the start of the second half, but it took them until the 64th minute to end Barnhart’s clean sheet. After a nifty give-and-go with Yuki Nagasato, Julie Ertz scored her third goal of the season, and first since May to get the Red Stars within one.

Finally, FC Kansas City substitute Maegan Kelly chipped Naeher for the insurance goal in the 80th minute:

Chicago has now lost their last three games, all in an eight-day span, all at home in Toyota Park. The Red Stars are third on the table, but tied with the Orlando Pride at 29 points and only ahead thanks to their head-to-head record against the Pride. Despite the 56.5% edge in possession and outshooting Kansas City 24 to 9 on Sunday, the Red Stars couldn’t earn a result at home. The rest of their season doesn’t get much easier either, with only one home game remaining, and games against the top two teams in September.

FC Kansas City pushed into seventh on the table tonight, only six points back from the final playoff spot, and with their five final games against the Orlando Pride, Sky Blue FC, the Red Stars, Seattle Reign FC and the Houston Dash, sneaking into the top four is doable if they extend their new three-game winning streak.

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