A Fair Result: Sky Blue, FC Kansas City play to 1-1 draw

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By TOM SLATER

Sky Blue FC and FC Kansas City played to a draw Saturday night in a match that probably didn’t satisfy either side.

Both teams showed flashes of attacking creativity in the match at Rutgers University’s Yurcak Field, but not enough to pull ahead of the other. With the draw, Sky Blue is now 2-3-3 for nine points while FCKC is 1-4-3 for five points after a horrendous start to the season.

Each scored a goal in the first half — in fact just minutes apart — for the only scoring in the match.

Sky Blue FC had appeared to have scored first but the center official had a role in not allowing the potential goal. In the 15th minute Erica Skroski served a ball in the middle of the penalty area where Kim DeCesare got her head on it and skied it over Barnhart’s head. The ball banged off the crossbar, was tipped by the goalkeeper and appeared to cross the line. But no goal was allowed as the ball was cleared away for a  corner.

The television replay indicated it crossed the line but the center official’s rule stood.

FC Kansas City drew first blood in the 28th minute on a goal by Shea Grooms. The Blues striker was able to take a square pass from Erika Tymrak from 20 yards away. She hit a first-time left footed shot that swerved and went high over the head of goalkeeper Caroline Stanley.

Two minutes later, Sky Blue leveled the match. Kelley O’Hara moved into the offense from the back — a familiar sight to Sky Blue fans. She was pulled own inside the box and Sarah Killion calmly stepped to the spot and scored her second penalty kick of the year.

The goal seemed to ignite the hosts as they began to attack through the midfield and became dangerous, pressuring Nicole Barnhart in the FC Kansas City net. Kelley Conheeney and  DeCesare both had quality attempts at goal but Barnhart was up to the challenge and came up with at least two goal-saving stops.

The second half saw nothing much in the way of danger for either team. Heather O’Reilly ,the native New Jerseyan, had a flurry of runs up the right side but her crosses never materialized into scoring chances.

Tymrak had a golden opportunity with 20 minutes left when Grooms served on from the right side but Tymrak never got a clean shot with her head and ball went wide of the goal.

Sky Blue pulled out all the stops late in the match by bringing in some big guns off the bench. Leah Galton, who had a goal and an assist in her first two matches, made her home debut in the 55th minute. Tasha Kai joined her 10 minutes later and then Aussie international Sam Kerr gave Sky Blue a triple-edged sword for the last 15 minutes.

But nothing really came of that firepower. The best opportunity was when Galton streaked down the left side and served to Kerr. However, the ball never reached Kerr.

Sky Blue returns to Yurcak Field next Sunday in a 6 p.m. Father’s Day match with Seattle.