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Chicago Red Stars

Scoreless Draw Ends Kansas City’s Playoff Hopes

A scoreless match in the Midwest had more happen off the field than on. Chicago will have to wait a few more weeks to punch their ticket to the playoffs, but FC Kansas City is officially out, as are the Houston Dash.

Morgan Brian got her first start for the Red Stars, while Sydney Miramontez took the place of the absent Brittany Taylor for FCKC. Both teams took some time in the first half to feel each other out. Casey Short allowed Miramontez a lot of space to work on KC’s right flank, but her balls into the box weren’t often met on the other end. While each side took advantage of turnovers and worked the ball down the field, neither showed enough urgency or movement in the final third to be dangerous.

Shortly before halftime, Nicole Barnhart came out to punch a ball away, and her arm collided with Yuki Nagasato, the first of several collisions in which Nagasato would be involved.

No changes were made to begin the second half. Chicago began to see more possession and lingered in their attacking half but couldn’t get much on frame. In the 54th minute, Christen Press took a free kick which forced Barnhart to push it over the crossbar. Nothing came of the resulting corner.

Both teams made attacking substitutions, hoping to open the scoring. Becky Sauerbrunn had a particularly active game, keeping Press contained while occasionally driving the ball up the pitch. Her timely tackles on both Press and Arin Gilliland prevented dangerous scoring opportunities for the Red Stars.

FCKC came the closest to scoring in the 87th minute, when Megan Kelly rose up to head in a Miramontez corner kick. Alyssa Naeher came up big to block the shot and immediately had to make another save as it deflected off Sam Johnson.

With their season in danger of ending, FCKC pushed hard in the final minutes. Just before stoppage time, Desiree Scott chipped the ball over the midfield to Sydney Leroux, who settled it perfectly for a half volley that went just high. Only two minutes of stoppage was not enough time for either side to find a go-ahead goal.

Chicago sits in third place and travels to Houston in two weeks to attempt to claim their playoff spot once again. Seventh-place Kansas City will travel to Seattle, who is still in the playoff hunt.

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