FC Kansas shutout the visiting Western New Flash but a chippy, physical match resulted in a 0-0 draw. With eight yellow cards issued, a couple reds that may have been earned but not issued, injuries and blood jerseys, it was an overall ugly match. That can often be the case when two teams play consecutive matches against each other.
"It was an aggressive game, definitely an aggressive game. You have lot of young energetic players on one side and some on our side as well, I am glad it finished well with no bad injuries," FC Kansas City head coach Vlatko Andonovski said after the match. "One thing that made me happy about this game was we kept the undefeated streak and shutout streak going. We stayed disciplined and organized on the defensive end, now we are going to whatever it takes to do better on the offensive side."
Western New York was not shy about physical play; quite a few FC Kansas City attacks were interrupted with cynical fouls, shoving players over to slow the attack. The Flash earned five cautions while the Blues were issued just three.
Around the 12th minute, Liz Bogus crashed into the box with a defender on her back and collided with Flash keeper Sabrina D'Angelo. The collision injured D'Angelo's arm , she subbed off. Bogus received a possible broken nose and had to sit out for a few minutes while the trainers stopped the bleeding and they got her a clean jersey.
The Blues managed to get a few shots off, mostly from dead ball attempts after having been fouled in the midfield but one of their bet attempts came late in the second half when Shea Groom got off a good shot that went wide.
Groom was part of the more controversial moment of the game. Sarah Hagen played a nice ball into the box that Jones came out to smother. Groom did not slow down and slid in an attempt to get the ball. It appears that her foot connected with the Flash keeper's leg. Both players were uninjured but as Groom got up to walk away, substitute Chantel Jones and a defender both took exception to the Blues rookie.
Jones gave a hard shove to Groom's back and referee Danielle Chesky put her hand to her back pocket for a red card as she walked up but never pulled it out. Her decision to only give a yellow may have been influenced by the fact the Flash already had subbed out a keeper and they would have been forced to use a field player.
Red Card? Penalty?
At the time, no whistle was heard after Groom slid in and other players acted like the play was still going so Jones' push could have been expected to result in a penalty attempt. If the play was stopped because of a foul on Groom (with no clear whistle), then Groom should have received her second yellow and the resulting red car ejection.
Two Blues made their first starts. Mandy Laddish got the nod after coming in last match and helping shut down the Flash offense. Laddish played well in both matches and may have earned some more time.
Rookie keeper Katelyn Rowland got the start over veteran Nicole Barnhart.
"Barnie did a great job in New York and got a couple bumps and bruises so I thought with this midweek game off it would give Barnie a little more time to recover," Andonovski explained. "We wanted to give Katelyn a chance and give Barnie a little extra rest."
"I couldn't be more blessed and fortunate to be a part of this team," Rowland smiled after the match. "I could not have asked for a better night, a better crowd, better team mates to share this experience with. It really is a dream come true."
Rowland made three saves in the match and kept the clean sheet but knew the game did not turn out as hoped. "It's not the result we were looking for, it got chippy at the end," Rowland said. "It was one of those games where you just have to grind it out. It wasn't pretty soccer but we fought hard and we got the shutout ultimately. Our backline was great at keeping them out and keeping the shots to a minimum."
Andonovski had informed Rowland she would start a couple days before the match. When asked if that gave her time to build up some nerves, she quickly replied, " A little bit absolutely. My team mates were very, I know it's cliché to say they were supportive but when I say they were supportive up to this day and especially on the field saying doing a good job and encouraging on the field and that just built my confidence."
Before the season Andonovski and the coaching staff all said they felt they had the best goalkeeper tandem in the league. When asked, Andonovski was quick to reply. "I still do, Katelyn showed today the potential she has.
Vlatko Andonovski officially became a citizen Thursday also.