FC Kansas City used fabulous, individual efforts by Lauren Holiday and Erika Tymrak to take a 2-0 victory from Seattle Reign FC on Saturday and jump into 2nd place in the NWSL.
Holiday (nee Cheney) joined league leaders Sydney Leroux and Abby Wambach on 10 goals with a left-footed rocket from 20 yards in the 39th minute, and Tymrak iced it in the 86th after dribbling through three Reign defenders to assure the 5,271 fans at Verizon Wireless Field went home happy. Both teams started the day unbeaten in their last six but only the Blues extended to seven straight without a loss, and in doing so completed a four-game sweep of the season series with the Reign during which Laura Harvey’s side never scored on Nicole Barnhart.
Tymrak had a role in both goals, winning a ball in midfield on a rare bad pass by Megan Rapinoe in the 39th minute. The rookie played Holiday, who the Reign defense lost track of on the left side. Holiday gathered the ball about 25 yards from goal, settled it as she approached the penalty area, and cracked a far post shot that left Hope Solo helpless and the Reign still without a shutout on the season. Holiday has now scored in her last five league contests.
With the Blues trying to nurse their 1-0 lead, Tymrak took matters into her own hands when she found herself on the ball and nothing but Reign players in her way. After freeing herself with a series of skillful touches, Tymrak sent a low shot between two Reign defenders and passed the diving Hope Solo for her sixth strike of the season.
Solo had little help on either goal and made three outstanding saves to keep things close. In the 19th minute Melissa Henderson made a smart run to find her way onto a Jen Buczkowski through-ball and forced Solo into a point-blank save. The U.S. No. 1 later made a similar save in the 2nd half on Merritt Mathias, and just before Tymrak’s goal she got her hand on Courtney Jones’ shot after most players on both sides slowed in anticipation of the offsides flag going up.
FC Kansas City (8-4-5, 29 pts.) move to 2nd place but the Thorns—two back—have two matches in hand. The Reign (4-10-4, 15 pts.) remain nine points off 4th place with three teams to pass.
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