FC Kansas City closed in on another playoff berth with a 2-1 victory over Sky Blue FC on Sunday night at Durwood Stadium. The win snapped a brief, two-match winless streak and gives them home wins over all eight NWSL rivals. Amy Rodriguez scored in the 1st half and Lauren Holiday in the 2nd and the Blues were able to hold on after a defensive breakdown allowed Nadia Nadim to grab one for Sky Blue near full time. Rodriguez’s 11th goal of the season briefly moved into a four-way tie for the Golden Boot lead with Jodie Taylor, Kim Little, and Jessica McDonald, but Little snagged her 12th late in the Reign’s win over the Thorns.
FC Kansas City tweaked the midfield again with Jenna Richmond out and Katrina Gorry in. On the backline, Amy LePeilbet stepped in for Kasey Kallman. The Sky Blue change was much more impactful though. Christie Rampone sat out the match with a concussion, replaced by Lindsi Cutshall. Without its leader the Sky Blue defense was caught unawares too many times and nearly fell behind several times in the opening minutes. The closest call came in the 25th minute when Erika Tymrak blasted a long shot between defenders that Jill Loyden got a hand on before it went off the crossbar and out of bounds.
The breakthrough came in the 34th minute. Holiday and Sarah Hagen attacked up the right side and Hagen eventually dropped central while Holiday sent in a far-post cross from deep on the right. Sky Blue allowed Rodriguez to post herself unmarked by the far post and her 11th goal of the year was little more than a tap-in.
FC Kansas City doubled up at 70 minutes. An earlier free kick was blocked in the wall but Sky Blue were never able to get full clearance. As the Blues kept pushing forward, 2nd-half sub Frances Silva played a ball behind for a streaking Holiday. Two Sky Blue defenders—Cutshall and Cami Levin—were in the area but allowed Holiday to saunter between them unfettered and she finished to make it 2-0.
Sky Blue cut the lead in half in the 87th minute after Gorry made a lazy back pass to Barnhart. The keeper wound up coming off her line but had to chance to get there before Nadia Nadim who scored her 2nd in as many games to make it 2-1. But there was no further rally for Sky Blue FC who remained 9 points behind the final playoff spot.
Still undefeated at Durwood Stadium, the Blues (11-5-4, 37 pts) will take their show on the road for a Wednesday match at Washington before returning home to host league-leading Seattle next Saturday. Sky Blue (4-8-7, 19 pts) play their final, regularly scheduled home match Thursday night against the Flash.
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