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FC Kansas City Come Up Short in North Carolina

Nicole Barnhart has a career day but it still isn’t enough for KC as the North Carolina Courage defend their home field and league lead.

FC Kansas City fall short against the first place Courage.

The first place and defending NWSL Champion North Carolina Courage were at home today as they took on FC Kansas City. FCKC are currenly sitting in the sixth spot coming into the game and only down one point from the final playoff spot. Both teams will have players leaving for national team duty after this week but for this game those players are in the lineup.

Here are your Starting XI for both KC and NC:

This game was also the Game of the Week on the Lifetime Network so it marked the first and only time this season Kansas City fans weren’t forced to use the go90 app, which has had it’s problems.

The first good opportunity for the game came for the Courage as former FC Kansas City draft pick Samantha Mewis sent a lovely through ball to United States Women’s National team partner Lynn Williams who would ultimately send the shot wide.

For the first chunk of the game North Carolina was in control. Nothing really happened for KC until Becky Sauerbrunn ate a high boot from Ashley Hatch that would ultimately earn Hatch a yellow card.

Shortly after that bad news would strike for KC as Katie Bowen, who is playing for the suspended Alexa Newfield, would be forced to leave the game with an injury. She was replaced by Becca Moros. Moros is more of a holding midfielder or fullback so that would force KC to move Lo’ Labonta up into the attacking midfield role.

The Courage continued to push the pace and maintain most of the possession as the half continued. The next good effort and the best shot of the game up to that point would come from Williams again but she’d fail to keep her shot on frame -- even if only barely.

Even though things weren’t going Kansas City’s way early they did hit quite a milestone. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart would record her 300th NWSL save. It wasn’t one of her more difficult ones, but they all count the same.

The best opportunity for KC would come through the combination play of Brittney Ratcliffe and Sydney Leroux, although the shot ultimately didn’t count because a foul had been called for the challenge against Ratcliffe. Yael Averbuch took the freekick but missed high.

Things continued to pick up towards in the end of the half. The single closest moment of the first half would come for the Courage off a corner kick. FCKC struggled to get the ball out of the box and actually cleared the ball of their own goal post at one point. After some more scrambling the Courage put a shot off the KC defender and that block would finally get the ball out of the box.

Just after that KC hustled down the field on the counter for a chance of their own. The ref blew the call as Leroux was clearly offside but it ultimately didn’t matter as Leroux’s shot was saved over the bar.

The teams would go into the half tied 0-0. FCKC started the second half with a good deal more possession than they enjoyed in the first half but they were offside several times when they were breaking in towards the NC goal.

Another yellow card would come out for the Courage as Zerboni would come in with a late challenge. The free kick was again taken by Averbuch but again would miss the frame of the goal.

The first goal of the game would come for the home team as Dahlkemper would send the ball in on a corner and it got chipped by Hatch before Zerboni would flick it home. 1-0 North Carolina.

It only got worse from there as North Carolina bagged another goal shortly after the first. This time rookie Ashley Hatch scored her first.

FC Kansas City would really put the pressure on late but it was not meant to be. KC would fall 2-0 to the league leaders ahead of losing both Sauerbrunn and Leroux to United States National Team duty next week.