Kansas City beats Sky Blue to take over third place

The Equalizer Staff September 2, 2015 50
FC Kansas City beat Sky Blue FC to take over third place in the NWSL. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

FC Kansas City beat Sky Blue FC to take over third place in the NWSL. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

FC Kansas City defeated Sky Blue FC, 3-2 on Wednesday in their final regular-season match to move into third place in the NWSL.

With the win, defending champions Kansas City would be the No. 3 seed in the playoffs and play away at the Chicago Red Stars in the semifinals — unless the Washington Spirit defeat Seattle Reign FC on Saturday night. Anything short of a victory for Washington on Saturday would set up a return semifinal between the two teams in Seattle on Sept. 13. Seattle clinched the top seed in the playoffs.

If Washington wins on Saturday, the Spirit would play the Chicago Red Stars in the semifinal on Sept. 13. The host of that match would depend on Chicago’s result against Houston on Sunday.

On Wednesday in New Jersey, Amy Rodriguez scored twice for FC Kansas City and added an assist in the victory.

Sarah Hagen opened the scoring in the 5th minute for FC Kansas City, tapping the ball into an empty net after Rodriguez crossed the ball to the back post. Lauren Holiday created a turnover near midfield to start the counterattack.

Sam Kerr scored her first of two goals in the 39th minute, collecting the ball over her shoulder after Kelley O’Hara. Kerr clipped her shot off the inside of the post and into the goal.

But three minutes later, Rodriguez headed the ball into the net on a cross from Heather O’Reilly to put FC Kansas City back in the lead.

Rodriguez scored again eight minutes into the second half, chasing down a ball and beating Sky Blue defender Lindsi Cutshall before placing her shot past Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron.

Kerr rose high for to head in a cross from Katy Freels in the 72nd minute, but Sky Blue’s late efforts for an equalizer did not produce another goal. Sky Blue FC finishes the season 5-8-7, missing the playoffs for the second straight season.

  • Cc W

    As a Reign fan, I’m trying to figure out who would be the best opponent in the semi – revenge at home against KC or taking on Dunn back to back.

    • A_Dog_Without_A_Clutch

      Washington- although they are capable of blowing you out, your also capable of doing the same. KC will give you a tight game no matter what.

      • Cc W

        Good points

        • guest

          Which team do you think you need home field advantage for the most?

          • Michelle

            The Spirit for sure. They’re a different team on the road.

    • sweetjazz3

      I think you are best off playing hard in the final game of the regular season and keeping your team’s sharpness going into the playoffs. The opponent is secondary to that.

  • Rdalford

    Sky Blue attendance 1620 (from NWSL match report)

    Sky Blue attendance 2015 season total=21889 season avg=2189 (10 home games)
    Sky Blue preWCfinal (1742+953+1562+958+1274) avg=1298
    Sky Blue postWCfinal (3014+2067+3152+5547+1620) avg=3280

    for reference
    2015 season total 21889 avg=2189 (10 home games)
    2014 season total 19682 avg=1640 (12 home games)
    2013 season total 18329 avg=1666 (11 home games)

    the post WC attendance bump, and in particular the Portland and Alex Morgan are in town 5547 attendance bump on Sat 8/22/15, pushed Sky Blue 2015 season average up to 2189 which is an increase of over 500 to prior 2013 & 2014 averages.

    • GT

      Nice season number thanks to the WC bump. Lousy final game number, although it was on a Wednesday Night.

  • Cc W

    If Sky Blue can keep that core of Kerr, Nadim, O’Hara and Foord together they could be a team to watch out for.

    • oz

      If Australia qualifies for the Olympics the Aussies will not be available until late August. It will another wasted season for SkyBlue if they not come up with a backup plan

      • Nicole C.

        Sadly you are right. If Gabarra doesn’t make smarter changes to the roster they’ll struggle and fail to make playoffs again next year. I will support SBFC win or lose but as of now, 2016 doesn’t feel like the year to me.

        • GT

          I’d like to see Sky Blue management make some changes to the coaching roster, but I doubt that that’s going to happen.

      • GT

        That was the problem this year. No back-up plan.

      • JL

        The AFC is perhaps the most difficult confederation in which to qualify for the Olympics. UEFA just uses WC results, so I’m not taking them into consideration. Only two spots available, and Korea DPR is back in the picture after being banned from the WC. Australia certainly has the talent to qualify, but I would not be too surprised if they didn’t.

        • Steglitz49

          The US, Canada and usually Mexico always qualify. Not strange that the US wins the Olympics.

          This time 4 UEFA teams will play-offf because Gbr will not use England’s slot.

          • STT

            CONCACAF only gets 2 Olympic teams, not 3.

          • Steglitz49

            Let’s be grateful for small mercies.

          • STT

            Or: let’s just make sure we know what we’re talking about before making off-putting statements.

          • Steglitz49

            Ignorance is bliss.

            Do you knit?

    • Rufan

      Nadim did not play last night and was listed as on the bench, but I wonder if she had left to go back home to medical school. When is she finished with Medical school and begin her residency?

      • Nicole C.

        An article written in April said Nadim was 4.5 years through a 6-year program, so she could be done school by late 2016. I don’t know how accelerated or spread out her classes are since she plays for Hjørring in the off season.

      • Michelle

        She was there. I imagine she’s leaving Jersey today or tomorrow.

        • GT

          So why didn’t she play? Too busy packing?

  • Tom F

    To me, Sky Blue might of been missing the total package, but at least they were the funnest team to watch. They got some really good younger players like Killion, Freels, Levin, Nadin, Foord and of course my very fav player, Kerr!

    Speaking of Kerr, she closes with 6 goals in 8 games in 676 minutes of play. That mirrors Dunn pretty much who’s got 15 goals in 19 games in 1621 minutes. Kerr could of scored more as she’s been able to beat her defender a lot but than didn’t settle & make an more accurate shot.
    O’Harra has been so & so, but the one I really wish would retire is Rampone, just like last nite she kept trying to turn herself into an attacking player, and left the Sky Blue pretty much defenseless

    • Rufan

      We were at the game and noticed that about Rampone in 2H; I think down by 2 goals at that point, she was trying to get another body up front (SB was playing without Nadin).

    • Reality

      Don’t forget Press who has 9 goals in 10 games in 841 minutes of play with one game left yet against Houston. She could end up #2 behind Dunn in goals scored for the year while only playing half as many games.

  • GT

    As the regular season comes to an end, it will be interesting to see which teams are able to retain their “core players” (including their high draft picks) and which teams can’t (for whatever reason).

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  • GT

    Sky Blue has gotten worse with each passing year. 2013 – 4th place, 2014 – 6th place, 2015 – seventh or eighth place. There needs to be accountability.

    • STT

      Their positioning has dropped, yes, but I think context is important as well. Seattle and Chicago were both below Sky Blue in 2013, but I would say the fact that they’ve been above Sky Blue the past two years is more those two teams improving than Sky Blue regressing. Same thing with Houston improving from last year to this year and passing them.

      • GT

        That’s the point. If you don’t improve enough, other teams will pass you. Survival of the fittest. To think that Nadim and Freels alone would supply enough offense during the WC period was naive. Other teams through the college draft, existing established players and NT players from counties that didn’t make the WC had much more firepower than Sky Blue had. And then playing O’Hara at left back in the first four games that she played and giving up on Hayes as an offensive threat and moving her to the back contributed to not scoring more than one goal in the first 12 games of the season. Again, there needs to be accountability, not excuses.

        • STT

          I don’t disagree – all I was trying to say was that “getting worse” and “getting passed” aren’t the same thing.

          It’s also worth pointing out that Sky Blue at full strength is still one of the best teams in the league – last year’s end-of-the-season run and this year’s performance with the Aussies present aren’t flukes. But yes, they definitely need to do better when not at full strength. Other teams could cope. Gabarra couldn’t.

          • GT

            If they get better next year and finish last, that would not be much consolation.

          • mockmook

            But, it would mean the league as a whole is REALLY improving — always look on the sunny side 🙂

          • GT

            The league is getting better.

          • Steglitz49

            The test will be 2017 and 2018, possibly even as soon as in 2016.

    • Rufan

      I have wondered, esp. going in the ’14 season when SB seemed to do little off season moves, if Gabarra has been on a tighter (than even league cap) salary budget, limiting his ability to go after players.

      • GT

        It doesn’t help when you lose players like Schmidt (after the ’14 season) DeVanna (after the ’13 season) and you put Ocampo on the bench (most of the ’13 and ’14 seasons). He’s the Technical Director and Coach. Accountability not excuses.

  • GT

    This game shows how the stars come out during crunch time. KC’s third goal by Amy Rodriguez showed sheer brilliance. Beating Cutshall and Cameron is not easy to do. Sky Blue’s first goal by Samantha Kerr also showed her brilliance. A left-footed shot to the far post, it doesn’t get any better then that. Beating LePeilbut and Barnhart is not easy to do.

    • brdn08

      Beating LePeilbet isn’t that hard as evidenced by both goals that Sky Blue scored last night. She was less than suboptimal last night.

      • GT

        Four clean sheets in a row. Not too many people beating LePeilbet this year.

        • brdn08

          We don’t analyze soccer the same way. I only pointed to the most noteworthy examples from last night’s game. Defenders get beat all the time and no goal is scored. Goals allowed is never the full story of how well or poorly a defender plays. Its really important but never completely indicative of player quality and in some cases presents a completely different picture than actual defensive play.

          • GT

            The FCKC games that I have seen, she looks very good. And others who seem to be avid followers of woso have said that they thought she was the best defender in the league during the WC time period.

          • mockmook

            I agree — with a few exceptions, she has had a very solid year.

  • Maya?

    What happened to Hayes? Is she no longer with the team?

    • Rufan

      She played last night as a sub. As a first round pick been a disappointment, but did better 2 half of ’14 season on the wing after Nadim joined the team. This year, a lot of time on the back line.

  • brdn08

    Sauerbrunn locked up defender of the year last night. Totally dominated her half of the field while Lepeilbet was being abused by Sam Kerr.

  • GT

    A little disappointed not seeing Shea Groom coming in off the bench. Maybe she’s not 100% yet and they are playing it safe and saving her for the playoffs. I know she played a few minutes in the previous game.

    • mockmook

      Strange to leave Sauerbrunn in the whole game if she is still nursing (or just recovered from) a hammy.

      • Kevin

        Yeah, I was wondering about that move and got scared when she went down for a second last night but she was great as always. Not flashy, but the most consistent player on the WNT along with Solo.