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KC, Chicago trade kicks 2-2 draw – Equalizer Soccer




Danny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

There were two games on Saturday. National Women’s Football Leaguestarting with an eventful tie between the Kansas City Current and the Chicago Red Stars.

Kansas City Current 2, Chicago Red Stars 2

Skinny: Kansas City dominated the first half and led 1-0, but the Red Stars turned things around after the break and scored twice early, again thanks to Mel Pugh. Sese Kizer saved the point for Kansas City with a great shot from long range against the flow of the game. Basically, Chicago is one point ahead of the San Diego Wave at the top of the NWSL (Sunday Wave game).

One key point: Kansas City’s first goal was a success on the training ground. Hayley Mays plays a Victoria Pickett corner and then gets the ball back (thanks in part to a nimble run by Lo’o Labonta and sends a taunt ball into the rear post, which Elizabeth Ball shields while Kristen Hamilton strikes deftly into the side net. Kizer earns a corner thanks to a good individual game.

Inside the game: Kansas City dominated the wingers in the first half in this battle of fullbacks, calming Chicago’s usually successful wide play and interrupting Pugh’s serve in the center zones. Chicago’s best chance of the half, an 18-minute Ella Stevens strike that forced Adrianna French to make a save, was the result of Current’s sloppy play. Otherwise, Kansas City ruled the flanks, with Desiree Scott sweeping ahead of three defensemen (one of them reversed half an hour later when Ball had to leave with a head injury) and Hamilton and Keezer slammed into the center channels overhead.

Second half of the day and night. As Chicago stepped up the pressure, Kansas City fell into a trap, often hitting what amounted to a flat six on the backline and giving the Red Stars more room to attack. This is what led to Chicago’s second goal. The Currents lost pressure and completely lost their form with Rachel Hill leading the center dribbling before she passed the ball to Bianca St. Georges who had space behind because one ball could beat half of the Current’s team. St. George’s cross overtook Pugh, who perfectly approached Scott from the penalty spot. Pugh finished it to take a 2-1 lead in front of Kizer’s rocket nine minutes later.

Even on set pieces, Kansas City didn’t play in the second half. Amanda Kowalski equalized for Chicago in the 53rd minute with Pugh’s corner header into the rear post. Kowalski slipped quietly into the zone between the Current zonal marking for the title.

Goals:

  1. Kansas City Current – Kristen Hamilton (Hayley Mays), 8′
  2. Chicago Red Stars – Amanda Kowalski (Mallory Pugh), 53′
  3. Chicago Red Stars – Mallory Pugh (PC), 59′
  4. Kansas City Current – Cees Kizer (Elyse Bennett), 68′

— Jeff Kassouf



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