KC NWSL falls to the Chicago Red Stars, but not without plenty of bad fortune

·4 min read

Kansas City NWSL’s road woes continued Saturday night in a 2-1 loss to the Chicago Red Stars at SeatGeek Stadium, but it was a loss that came with plenty of misfortune for Kansas City.

An own goal from KC midfielder Kristen Edmonds to open the scoring was bad enough for Kansas City, but then what seemed to be a clearly missed offside call led to Chicago’s second goal to take the lead in the second half.

A bullet header from Hailie Mace marked her first goal in a Kansas City jersey, but it wasn’t enough for the road team.

“Two tough goals that we gave up today, one an own goal and another way questionable,” Kansas City head coach Huw Williams said. “Proud of our players for their effort, their determination and work rate and quality. I think we did well, but not quite well enough.”

KC is still looking for its first road win in franchise history; the road record sits at 0-9-3, and with Kansas City’s final two games at home, it won’t be until at least 2022 that Kansas City finally gets that road victory.

As has been the case for most of Kansas City’s road games this season, KC started the game on the back foot as Chicago peppered the KC goal six times in the first half. And that’s not including the two times that midfielder Katie Johnson hit the post.

But that was about it when it came to good fortune for Kansas City.

Taking already their fifth corner of the game in the 34th minute, Red Stars star forward Mallory Pugh found teammate Tierna Davidson at the edge of the box.

Davidson’s low header looked to be bouncing wide, but an errant header from Edmonds directed the ball into the bottom corner, rooting KC goalkeeper AD Franch to the spot.

It took just three minutes for Kansas City to respond, striking off a corner kick itself.

Running a move straight off the training ground, Lo LaBonta rolled a short corner to Katie Bowen, who whipped in a cross onto the charging Mace whose powerful header flew into the top left corner.

“Bowen served the perfect ball and I honestly wasn’t really paying attention at the beginning and then it was there and I was like ‘OK, gotta head it in,’” Mace said. “It feels good to score finally.”

The drama came in the 50th minute when Chicago retook the lead courtesy of a tap into an empty net from Makenzy Doniak.

But in the build-up to the play, a pass from Johnson intended for Pugh was initiated too late and led to Pugh being in an offside position at the time of the pass. A small deflection from Corsie took a little speed out of the ball but didn’t alter the path too much, forcing Pugh to pull up and collect the ball ahead of a backtracking Mace.

Bowen, never one to mince her words, responded to the no-call after the game. The midfielder expressed both frustration at the officials and a wish for them to do better in the future.

“I don’t know the exact laws of the game, but I know that when the ball left her foot Mal was in an offside position, so I would have thought that would have been called,” Bowen said. “But we’ll have to watch it back and I hope that the referees do the same because we work ... day in and day out and for calls like that — to go against either team, if that happened to Chicago as well we’d be frustrated.

“I think to lose on something like that is super frustrating because we put our heart and soul into this. So I just ask that they reflect and improve for the next game.”

With Pugh getting to the ball first the linesman’s flag should have immediately been raised, but instead it remained down and led directly to Chicago’s winning goal.

“I think we’ve struggled with the refs recently across the whole league. and I think it just needs to be better because it’s pretty unfair,” Mace added.

Despite putting up 12 total shots, only two of those were on target as Kansas City struggled to break through the stout Chicago defense in the final half-hour of the game.

Kansas City will return to action on Friday against NJ/NY Gotham FC at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas.

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