Kansas City, MO – The Red Stars nearly pulled off what would have been considered an upset of Kansas City in a late 0-1 loss to the hosts on Saturday night. This being the team’s 3rd match in just 7 days, including 2nd road trip of the week, the Red Stars were battling more than just the opponent in tonight’s match-up.
The Red Stars would make no excuses for themselves on the field though as they hung tough until the 77th minute under scorching early heat when KC’s Merritt Mathias played a low cross in front of goal and Jen Buczkowski was left open to slide the ball into the net. It would be the only goal of the night for either side.
“It’s the third game in a row where we’ve had one big mental breakdown that’s cost us a goal,” said Head Coach Rory Dames. “That’s part of developing and bringing along young players.”
Chicago played smart for much of the match and knocked the ball around their backline when the opportunity presented itself, in an effort to save legs and build up an attack from the back.
The Red Stars had a golden chance late in the first half when a pass split the KC defense and found Melissa Tancredi on the right side. She had a 1v1 opportunity with KC goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart who was up to the task, blocking Tancredi’s low shot. Adriana Leon picked up the deflection and went for the long-distant blast but Barnhart was again there to scoop it up and send the teams scoreless into halftime.
“If we had been able to go up at the end of the first half, it would have changed the entire dynamic of the second half for us,” went on Dames.
FC Kansas City put pressure on in the second half, reaching the endline for many dangerous crosses. Their goal would come on one of these plays when Mathias broke down the right side to the endline and put in a low ball that crossed the face of the goal. Buczkowski was there to slide in the open shot and put KC up 1-0 late in the match, and sending a dagger through the Red Stars who fought so hard to hold on against heavy legs the entire match.
The team put up a fight in the waning minutes with Jen Hoy and Taryn Hemmings working the right side of the field and earning several corner kicks. It was off these corners that the Red Stars had two near-misses from the heads of Julie Johnston and Michelle Wenino.
“When we come back from break, it will be the first time we’ve had our full team all year and we’ll be excited to get back to work and make a run at the final 10 games,” stated Dames.
The Red Stars now have time off after this heavy stretch of matches. The team returns to action for a Thorns away and home series when they travel to Portland on the 4th of July before meeting them again in Chicago on Wednesday, July 9th. It will then mark a 3-game home stand for the Red Stars with Seattle coming to town on July 12 and Portland one final time on July 17. For tickets, visit chicagoredstars.com/tickets/ or call 773-697-8699. The Red Stars have a special 3-for-2 Pacific Northwest Pack where you can get tickets to all three home matches for the price of two games.