FC Kansas City forward Amy Rodriguez scored the first goal of the NWSL season, but the home team conceded three minutes into the second half to tie Sky Blue FC 1-1 in each team’s season-opener on Saturday.
Rodriguez scored in the 23rd minute, using her left foot to calmly slot home rookie defender Kassey Kallman’s pass from the top of the box.
But Sky Blue FC got back on the board just minutes after halftime when Katy Freels pounced on a poor clearance from FC Kansas City’s Jen Buczkowski. Freels scored from point-blank range, giving FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart no chance to make the save.
Rodriguez missed all of 2013 to give birth to her first child, but she showed no signs of losing a step in her first professional club game since the 2011 WPS final. Rodriguez put a pair of good opportunities — one in each half — just wide of net and forced Sky Blue goalkeeper Jill Loyden into a huge 61st minute save in a 1-v-1 opportunity.
“It was a good team performance,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra said. “There were some team adjustments that were made, like taking Cutshall out and moving O’Hara to center back, but overall we had a good start and were able to come away with a point.”
43′ FCKC – Amy Rodriguez 1 (Kassey Kallman)
48′ SBFC – Katy Freels 1
FC Kansas City starting XI: Barnhart, Robinson, Sauerbrunn, Phillips, Kallman; Mathias (79′ Richmond), Holiday, Buczkowski, Tymrak; Rodriguez, Bogus (69′ Marlborough)
Sky Blue FC starting XI: Loyden, O’Hara, Cutshall (76′ Ocampo), Goodson, Johnson; Levin (75′ Nick), Foord, Schmidt, Freels, Kiryu (64′ Lytle); Hayes
Woman of the Match: Amy Rodriguez was the most dangerous player on the field, creating several chances for FC Kansas City. There was some wonder how she would return from pregnancy and how she would fit in with FC Kansas City’s possession style, but 90 minutes into the season, she looks sharp.
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