For the Breakers, Wednesday's match in Kansas City turned out like any other. The Blues claimed an early goal, the Breakers grinded out an equalizer, and a late game-winner made all the difference. This time, though, the match started more than two hours late--and ended 45 minutes early.
In the 8th minute of a rain-soaked midweek match, FC Kansas City forward Amy Rodriguez found herself one-on-one with Breakers 'keeper Alyssa Naeher. In typical Rodriguez fashion, the U.S. International slotted a shot past the onrushing Naeher, delivering an early lead for the home side.
The Breakers, however, responded with immediate pressure, looking to push through the elements and find an early equalizer. In the 15th minute, rookie defender Kassey Kallman succumbed to the Breakers attack, fouling Lianne Sanderson in the box. With typical poise, Heather O'Reilly stepped up to the spot, slid her penalty just past FCKC 'keeper Nicole Barnhart, and evened the score at one.
Unfortunately for Tom Durkin and the four-win Breakers, O'Reilly's penalty-kick goal served as the only bright spot in an otherwise disappointing performance. The Blues instantly regained the match's momentum, turning in an attacking onslaught in Kansas City. Near go-ahead goals from Erika Tymrak and Rodriguez led way to Sarah Hagen's game-winner, which arrived in the 26th minute.
With space in the attacking third, Hagen received a pass from Rodriguez and found herself one-on-one with Naeher, an all-too-familiar position for the standout 'keeper. Hagen's shot bounded toward the goal line, eventually found the back of the net, and ousted the Breakers on the road.
In the 38th minute, former FC Kansas City midfielder Kristie Mewis turned in the final opportunity of the match for the Breakers, striking a shot high and over the crossbar.
After significant halftime delays, the officials called the match, awarding FCKC a 45-minute victory--and home-field advantage through the NWSL semi-finals.
On Sunday, the Breakers will host the defending-champion Portland Thorns. Match kicks off at 6:30PM. To buy tickets, visit BreakersTickets.com.