"Distraught," was the first word out of FC Kansas City's Becky Sauerbrunn after losing to Chicago 2-1 Sunday. All the Blues needed to do was get one point in their last two matches to finish in the top spot and nail down home field advantage through the playoffs but two straight losses dropped them to second place.
FC Kansas City started the match well, creating chances and controlling the game. Courtney Jones entered the match in only the 10th minute after Leigh Ann Robinson went down with a knee injury. Merritt Mathias moved back and Jones took her spot. This opened up the outside for Chicago as Mathias had not played back for half the season.
The Blues took the lead when Jones powered a shot through Chicago's Erin McLeod's hands and into the corner of the goal in the 20th minute.
Chicago rookie Jen Hoy evened the match in the 45th minute but the Blues almost retook the lead on a Melissa Henderson goal that was ruled offside.
Through the second half Chicago kept up the physical play and pressure on the FC Kansas City's midfield. As time wound down the Blues passed the ball around to preserve the lead but an errant pass allowed the Red Star's Hoy to score her second of the day. FC Kansas City was unable to score the equalizer despite a last ditch effort that even saw Nicole Barnhart go forward.
"It is something that has haunted us throughout the season, giving up points late in the last couple seconds," Sauerbrunn explained. "Unfortunately it is a feeling that we know, which is heightened now that we were playing for first place. To be honest though we did not lose that game in the thirty seconds for them to score, we lost that in the entire game. Once again we didn't play up to our potential; we lost that game at the first whistle."
FC Kansas City head coach Vlatko Andononski was obviously not pleased with his team's performance, "We probably played one of our worst games."
"It is ridiculous that our motivation and our willingness was not there when the season was on the line, when first place was on the line. I don't think the players need a motivator to get them going," Andonovski continued. "All you have to say is your playing for first place. If you're not ready to play for first place, if you're not motivated to play for first place then you shouldn't be here.
FC Kansas City finishes the regular season in second place with a record of 11-6-5. They will host the first round of the NWSL Playoffs on Saturday August 24th against the Portland Thorns.