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KC NWSL closes 2021 Challenge Cup with a 2-1 loss

Two defensive mistakes cost KC NWSL their final Challenge Cup game.

Photo: Thad Bell | The Blue Testament

Kansas City NWSL closed the 2021 Challenge Cup against OL Reign with a 2-1 loss. It was the first game at Legends Field, where KC NWSL will play its home matches for 2021. The game was a sold out event, at least in terms of capacity during COVID-19.

After three games without a win, head coach Huw Williams decided to return to the 4-3-3 formation, giving Mallory Weber a start at top with Amy Rodriguez and Victoria Pickett. Weber had been on loan with Australian W-League side, Adelaide United. Defender Kristen Edmonds returned to stating line up after serving a two-game suspension. Australian international Chloe Logarzo also earned her first start, with the hope that she could help the team’s offense from the midfield.

Williams’ change gave Kansas City their first opportunity at goal in the sixth minute, earlier than previous games. Forward Mallory Weber was making a run on the wing and received a pass from Victoria Pickett. Weber took a right-footed shot from the center of the box to the top right corner, giving Kansas City a 1-0 lead.

Kansas City had a couple of opportunities to extend the lead, including an Amy Rodriguez right-footed shot that was too high. Whatever momentum KC had building was cut short in the 32nd minute as KC midfielder Jordyn Listro fouled OL Reign forward Tziarra King in the box, taking her down and making it easy for the referee to give the Reign a penalty kick.

Jess Fishlock converted the penalty with a right footed shot to the bottom left corner, one that goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart could not save, sending her the opposite direction. KC NWSL tried to break the tie, but went into halftime holding a 1-1 draw.

Both teams spent the next 39 minutes attempting to break the deadlock. It would be OL Reign’s Celia Jimenez Delgado’s header off a corner in the 84th minute that gave the Tacoma team the 2-1 lead. Unfortunately, Delgado remained unmarked on the set play.

Kansas City would go on to lose another one, wrapping up the Challenge Cup with a draw against and three losses. The team now focuses on the 2021 regular season as it prepares for its first game at Racing Louisville on May 15th.