FC Kansas City Wins Big in Barnhart's 100th Game
Shea Groom leads the way with two goals and an assist
KANSAS CITY (September 3, 2017) – FC Kansas City’s playoff hopes are still alive as the home team defeated Sky Blue FC 4-1 Sunday evening to earn three points. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, playing in her 100th regular season NWSL match, was spectacular in goal and forward Shea Groom had two goals and an assist while Lo’eau LaBonta and Sydney Leroux each scored once.
The first ten minutes saw back-and-forth action between the two sides. The early battles at midfield did not lead to any good chances for either side. Sky Blue had their first shot on goal in the 15th minute when forward Sam Kerr sent a ball into the box for Sarah Killion, but her shot was saved by goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart.
Barnhart came up big again in the 25th minute. After Sky Blue took a corner kick, the ball fell outside the box and headed off forward Maya Hayes and defender Erika Skroski, forcing the keeper to make a fingertip save to push it over the crossbar.
The Blues’ had a great chance in the 28th minute as defender Brittany Taylor sent the ball over the top to forward Leroux who brought it down off her chest and took a shot, but the ball went straight into the arms of SBFC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. In the 38th minute, Sky Blue's Sam Kerr fired a shot inside the box but Barnhart was able to make the point-blank save.
FCKC struck first in the 39th minute. Barnhart sent the ball to midfield. Leroux headed the ball to forward Groom’s feet where she was able to send the ball on the ground across to midfielder LaBonta who notched her second goal of the season. That marked the second straight game with a goal for LaBonta.
Barnhart continued to shine throughout the first-half. In the 43rd minute, Sky Blue forward Kelley O’Hara tried her luck, but the keeper once again came up big with the point-blank save.
The Blues kept their momentum going. With a play similar to the first goal, it was LaBonta this time who set up Groom in the 44th minute. Barnhart sent the ball to midfield to LaBonta who passed it to Groom who beat Sheridan for her third goal of the season.
The second half began similarly to the first one with both teams fighting in the midfield for possession. Sky Blue had a sequence in the 54th minute when O’Hara sent the ball into the box to the feet of Kerr, but the Australian’s shot went out for a goal kick.
Kansas City began a nice counter that led to their third goal of the match. Midfielder Desiree Scott started the attack with some help from midfielder Katie Bowen. Scott went down the left side and sent the ball into the box for Groom whose initial shot was blocked by Sheridan, but the third-year forward put away the rebound for a brace.
Sky Blue was desperate to get on the board after the third goal. Kerr had a decent chance in the 74th minute when she broke away from the defenders and shot it towards goal, but the shot sailed just over the crossbar.
The visitors were able to pull one back in the 83rd minute. Sky Blue midfielder Taylor Lytle sent a corner kick into the box to the head of second-half substitute Madison Tiernan who put it in the back of the net.
The Blues kept up the pressure for the rest of the match and their hard work paid off in the dying minutes of stoppage time when, off a quickly taken free quick, second half substitute Maegan Kelly sent the ball to Leroux who put it past the goalkeeper to give FC Kansas City the 4-1 win.
FC Kansas City will be back home Saturday, September 9 for the Lifetime Game of the Week. Kick off for that match is scheduled for 2:50 p.m. CT. The match can be streamed on mylifetime.com with a cable subscription and tickets for the game can be purchased here.
NWSL Match Report
Match: FC Kansas City vs Sky Blue
Date: September 3, 2017
Venue: Swope Soccer Village, Kansas City, MO
Kickoff: 5:10 p.m. CT, 6:10 p.m. ET
Weather: 93 degrees, sunny
39’ FCKC LaBonta (Groom)
44’ FCKC Groom (LaBonta)
64’ FCKC Groom
83’ SBFC Tiernan (Lytle)
90’ + 3 FCKC Leroux (Kelly)
Goals 1 2 F
FC Kansas City 2 2 4
Sky Blue 0 1 1
FC Kansas City: Barnhart, Moros, Averbuch, Sauerbrunn, Taylor, Scott, LaBonta (Kelly 62’), Gibbons, Bowen (Ratcliffe 71’), Groom (Flynn 87’), Leroux
Substitutes Not Used: Parkhill, Tymrak, Miramontez, Newfield
Sky Blue FC: Sheridan, Mills (Benintente 60’), Richardson, Freeman, Skroski, Killion, Corboz (Tiernan 64’), Lytle, O’Hara, Kerr, Hayes
Substitutes Not Used: Casey, Meehan, Rodriguez