FC Kansas City (7-4-4, 25 pts.) and the Western New York Flash (6-3-5, 23 pts.) finally jockeyed for playoff positions against each other on a brutally hot Sunday in Kansas City, ending in a 0-0 draw.
The 24 fouls committed (12 each) fell second only to the inaugural match as FCKC’s most physical, and the on field estimated temperature of 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit added to the suffering. Once again, Lauren Holiday’s (neé Cheney) absence defused the FC Kansas City attack. New forwards Teresa Noyola and Tiffany Cameron made appearances for FCKC in the 74th and 86th minutes, respectively, but did little to change the outcome.
The Blues put 13 shots on goal to the Flash’s five, but none of them found the back of the net for either team. FCKC’s Becky Sauerbrunn clung to WNY’s Abby Wambach and neutralized her throughout the match. Erika Tymrak’s creative footwork pushed the ball through the midfield repeatedly for FCKC, but the Blues failed to put together strong finishing touches. Flash goalkeeper Adriana Franch rarely even moved to make her saves, as most shots flew in directly at her.
Nicole Barnhart made the save of the match on a second half blast from Abby Wambach from distance. Though the strike initially looked to be too strong, the movement on the ball had it diving under the crossbar late, and a leaping Barnhart did well to get a touch on it and push it away.
The third place Blues finally get some rest and next face the Red Stars in Chicago on Sunday at 3:00pm CT. Western New York could take over third with a win in Seattle against the Reign on Thursday at 7:00pm PT. They will then travel to Portland to face the struggling Thorns at JELD-WEN on Sunday at 2:00pm PT.