Sky Blue Drops Crucial Game to FC Kansas City

Taylor Lytle for Sky Blue

sky blue logoOn a night where Sky Blue’s Sam Kerr and FC Kansas City’s Nicole Barnhart were looking to make history, the game belonged to Shea Groom.

Groom continued her torrid streak over the last five games with a part in the first three goals as K.C. defeated Sky Blue, 4-1, on Sunday.

Groom scored twice and set up another to deal Sky Blue’s playoff hopes a huge blow.

Sky Blue (9-10-2, 29 points) is in fifth place but could drop to sixth if Seattle beats Houston in Sunday’s late game. FC Kansas City (7-9-5, 26 points) kept its faint playoff hopes alive with the win.

Barnhart became the first goalkeeper in the National Women’s Soccer League goalkeeper to appear in 100 games and nearly had a shutout. She did thwart Kerr several; the Australian international striker has 16 goals this season, tied with former Seattle Reign striker Kim Little for the league’s single-season goalscoring- record.

Groom set up the first goal of the night late in the first half. After a Barnhart punted was flicked at midfield by Sydney Leroux, Groom had room on the right side and ran right at Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. Groom laid the ball back across goal where Lo’eau Labonta was standing alone. The former Sky Blue draft pick slid it into the empty net in the 39th minute.  It was Labonta’s second straight game with a goal — her only two of the year.

Three minutes later, Groom doubled the lead. Again Barnhart started the play with a punt past midfield. Labonta flicked it over the defense to a sprinting Groom, who again took it to goal. As Sheridan approached, Groom sent the ball across the goal to the far post.

In the 64th minute, Groom scored her second. Desiree Scott made a strong run down the left wing, taking the ball to the goal line. She flicked the ball with her right foot across goal. Groom’s first shot was saved by Sheridan, but Groom tucked in the rebound.

Sky Blue’s Madison Tiernan headed in a Taylor Lytle corner kick in for her second goal of the year, in the 83rd minute.

But the only other goal of the night came from Leroux seconds before the final whistle.

Kerr had several chances to score her record 17th goal of the year, but Barnhart and Becky Sauerbrunn combined to stop her, denying her good service and forcing her wider than usual.