FC Kansas City earned its first win of the NWSL season over Seattle Reign FC 2-0 tonight on a rainy Friday night in Kansas City in front of 4,064 fans. It was a fast, physical game, with the total number of fouls in the double digits, and plenty more not called by referee Christina Unkel.
Sinead Farrelly scored the first goal of the match off a Lauren Cheney corner with a powerful header past Michelle Betos into the top right corner in the 22nd minute. Despite the game opening up in the second half and Seattle picking up offensive steam, in the 72nd minute Renae Cuellar beat Kate Deines on the run and calmly slotted it past Betos for her second goal of the season.
Thad Bell is on the scene and will have the full match report, but here are some early points to discuss for both the Blues and Reign FC:
- Kansas City repeated its first match performance of dominant first half / shaky second half. Despite Seattle looking for the equalizer, Cuellar’s goal helped settle the Blues for the remaining twenty minutes of the second half. Kansas City still needs to learn how to play with a lead going into the second half, as they allowed a couple of early chances that were very close calls for Seattle. KC still looks like the strongest and most cohesive team so far as week three of NWSL action begins.
- For all of Seattle’s defensive-mindedness going into the match, they played best when they pressed back offensively. Their situation improved even more when Reign FC head coach Laura Harvey subbed in Kiersten Dallstream for Emily Zurrer. Despite Deines being beat on Cuellar’s goal, she was really the only thing holding Seattle’s back line together in the first half, and she and Elli Reed had to clean up plenty of mistakes made by their own midfield.
- In a tale of two goalkeepers, Betos looked mostly hesitant in the first half, though she came up with a massive save on a Lauren Cheney free kick in the second half (and then was rescued by the crossbar on Becky Sauerbrunn’s second chance from close range). Nicole “Barnhouse” Barnhart was steady on the couple of shots she actually saw, and challenged the charging Reign FC forwards when she needed to.
- Lauren Cheney seemed to be everywhere on the field for the full ninety, and could have had one of her own on the scoresheet in addition to her role in the two scored by her teammates.
Stay tuned at womens.soccerly.com for the full report on tonight’s match.
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