Overland Park, Ks. – The Red Stars continued their season-long theme of fighting til the end, by coming from behind to defeat 1st place KC 2-1, with end-of-the-halves goals scored by rookie Jen Hoy in the 45th and 90th+ minutes. The Red Stars, already narrowly out of playoffs, were playing strictly for pride against Kansas City, who needed a win or tie to win out the league regular season and host playoffs.
The win gives the Red Stars a final season .500 record at 8-8-6, good for 30 points, which is impressive considering the allocation injury losses and losses of other key players to injury throughout the year. The win also gives the Red Stars victory of their 4-game season series against KC with a final record of 2-1-1.
Kansas City got on the board first when rookie Erika Tymrak broke up the middle of the field and found 10th minute substitute Courtney Jones on the right side. Jones placed a low, hard shot to the far corner that Red Stars GK McLeod got a hand on but wasn’t able to keep out of the net.
The Red Stars bounced back shortly after, led by the fearless play of outside defender Michelle Wenino, who pushed up into the attack and got her head on several loose balls nearly taking a foot to the face in the process. Chicago earned a corner kick out of the sequence but wasn’t able to capitalize.
Later in the half, Red Stars forwards Inka Grings and Jen Hoy began to put together combination play that led to opportunities on goal. It was the 45th minute when their work paid off and Chicago capitalized. On a multi give-and-go sequence Grings laid off to Hoy directly in front of goal and Hoy put the ball in the upper right corner of the net. That wouldn’t be the final action of the half, however, as FCKC put a cross into the goal only to see it taken back on an offside call. The teams would remain locked up going into halftime.
The Red Stars came out pressing in the second half, throwing numbers forward. A foul led to a free kick from the 50-yard line around the 56th minute and goalkeeper McLeod would come out to take the kick, as Chicago pushed forward with nothing to lose in their last match of the season.
They dominated possession into the 65th minute of the match, but the tides would temporarily turn when the Red Stars were called for a series of yellow card fouls, first by Grings in the 65th then by Santacaterina in the 68th. FC Kansas City found themselves a few more chances in the half, but looked to be holding out for an important tie as the game wore on.
The Red Stars, however, pushed numbers forward looking for an end-of-year win and got it on a breakaway when Grings laid the ball off to the right side to Julianne Sitch, who placed a low hard cross towards goal that found Hoy, who blasted it away for her second of the night in stoppage time.
“I’m extremely proud of the group,” said Head Coach Rory Dames “We got off to a very slow start to the season, but from June 1st onward we were tied for most points in the league. We will get it fixed for 2014.”