PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Monica Ocampo scored goals in the 85th and 92nd minutes to lift Sky Blue FC to a 2-2 draw with FC Kansas City on a muggy Wednesday night at Yurcak Field. FC Kansas City went ahead through Erika Tymrak and built a two-goal lead through Lauren Cheney but were not able to keep the hosts at bay in front of 1,126.
“We had some lapses in concentration in the back line. We missed two long balls and the ball dropped in the back and the rest, you know what happened,” FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski said.
The first missed long ball was a Christie Rampone free kick from near midfield. The ball bounced twice in the box and Kelley O’Hara ran it down near the touch line and played it deftly to Ocampo who barely redirected it to beat Nicole Barnhart.
“I kind of just anticipated that it was going to skip through,” O’Hara said. “I was able to just play it first time across the goal.”
The second goal saw Katy Freels play a probing ball near CoCo Goodson, but Goodson collided with Lauren Sesselmann and the ball skittered towards the touch line again. This time Ocampo got there first and scored at a near impossible angle, sending the Sky Blue bench and faithful into a ruckus.
“The second goal, I had no angle,” Ocampo said through a translator. “I’m really happy for the result and for the work I did with my teammates. It feels really good. I’m thankful for Coach Gabarra for giving me the opportunity to play.”
Ocampo replaced Danesha Adams in the 62nd minute.
The first half was a study in scoring against the run of play. Sky Blue had nearly all the possession and all the chances but it was the Blues who took the lead in the 14th minute through Tymrak. Goodson slipped in space and Tymrak was allowed to walk in on Brittany Cameron for the goal.
“I think she just slipped,” Sky Blue coach Jim Gabarra said.
In the 74th minute Cheney went level with Abby Wambach for the league lead in goals with seven. Sky Blue had gameplanned to keep Cheney off her right foot, but on this occasion Cheney was too good. She cut inside Goodson then back to her right with a move that took Goodson out of the play and unleashed a perfect shot to beat Cameron low to the far post.
“It was in transition and we’re all stretched out pushing forward for a goal,” Sky Blue coach Jim Gabarra said. “It was a great move. She obviously wants to get up on her right. It was a great goal.”
The extra Blues goal seemed to wake up Sky Blue, who began to push frantically to save the night. Cameron even came across the center line to push the play forward.
“It’s good to always be able to go back to that and to push and fight to the end no matter what the score is,” Gabarra said.
Sky Blue (8-2-3, 27 points) moved a point clear of Portland Thorns FC for 1st place in NWSL. But they are not resting on their laurels.
“It’s a tough week for us. We’ll go to Boston (Sunday). I think that’s a decent matchup for us, but they’ll have Leroux and O’Reilly and we won’t have Lisa (De Vanna) and Caitlin (Foord, both for national team duty). But we look at the next game and try to get three points.”
FC Kansas City (6-4-2, 20 points) moves into third place by one point over Western New York and eight clear for a playoff spot. Andonovski said a draw may have been okay before his team held a late lead.
“If you asked me the question before the game if I would take a tie, maybe,” he said. “But if you asked me in the 80th minute at 2-0, probably not. But it is what it is. It was a good game by both teams.”
– O’Hara appeared to re-aggravate her ankle injury and quickly said, “It’s not great right now.” Gabarra indicated it will be an issue at some level the rest of the season.
– FC Kansas City did not have new signing Tiffany Cameron, but she is expected to be available Sunday against Portland.
– Gabarra put Sophie Schmidt up top in place of Lisa De Vanna. She was effective but spent too much time tracking back, according to the coach. He said there were too many times when Schmidt, Adams, and O’Hara were all playing too deep which limited the scoring options.
FC Kansas City vs. Sky Blue FC
June 26, 2013 – Yurcak Field
FC Kansas City 1 1 2
Sky Blue FC 0 2 2
FCKC – Tymrak 14’
FCKC – Cuellar 74’
SBFC – Ocampo (O’Hara) 85’
SBFC – Ocampo (Freels) 90+’