FC Kansas City and Portland Thorns FC are headed to extra time in the first ever NWSL playoff match. Kansas City took a 2-0 lead in the opening half, but for the third time this season failed to hold on to a multi-goal advantage. Tiffany Weimer came off the bench to equalize with the only goal of the 2nd half.
Thorns forward Alex Morgan is in the 18-woman gameday roster but has not appeared. Fellow Olympian Tobin Heath started and scored the first Thorns goal but was carried off the field after Desiree Scott stepped on her right foot midway through the 2nd half.
The Blues took an early in the 12th minute when the Thorns failed to close off Tymrak near the top of the area. Following some of what was a rare bit of sustained attack for FC Kansas City, Tymrak slipped into space and took a pass from Leigh Ann Robinson. Neither Thorns’ center back Kat Williamson nor Rachel Buehler, stepped up to close down the Rookie of the Year and her right footed shot from 22 yards split them perfectly before alluding Karina LeBlanc to the far post.
At 25 minutes FCKC doubled the advantage. This time Lauren Holiday did much of the work, drawing most of the Thorns defense central with an on-the-ball-run before finding Merritt Mathias in the vacated space on the right flank. Mathias put her pass on Melissa Henderson’s head and the forward hit it perfectly to make it 2-0. It was Henderson’s 1st goal of the season and the 1st by an FC Kansas City forward since Renae Cuellar was traded.
Henderson’s goal thwarted what had been some forward momentum for Portland which included a hard shot by Angie Kerr that forced Nicole Barnhart to leap and knock it over the bar. The Thorns did not back up though. In the 33rd minute Defender of the Year Becky Sauerbrunn made an uncharacteristically poor pass that went to Kerr. Reacting quickly Kerr one-touched it to Christine Sinclair who knocked it back wide to Kerr. The next pass was a cross to a wide open Heath, whose near post finish was true to cut the host’s lead to 2-1.
The lone goal of the 2nd half came from Weimer, who had replaced Danielle Foxhoven. Nikki Marshall jumped in to keep an attacking sequence alive and sent a cross that Sinclair stepped over. The dummy run left the Blues defense confused and allowed Weimer an open shot at knotting the match.
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