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Hurry Up And Wait: FC Kansas City 0, Chicago Red Stars 0, NWSL game recap

Chicago squanders a chance to secure a playoff spot with a goalless draw in Kansas City

Photo via Chicago Red Stars

FC Kansas City 0

Chicago Red Stars 0

I came into this game expecting disaster. I’m a Liverpool fan and earlier today I saw them capitulate to Manchester City to the tune of 5-0. I was reasonably confident they’d get a result today and it ended up being a total shit show.

So I figured, if I assume the Red Stars would get rolled, they’ll end up doing okay. That’s how this works, right?

It worked, at least. It wasn’t a disaster. But it wasn’t a great day. The Red Stars had playoff qualification in their grasp— all they needed to do was win. But they couldn’t manage to score against Kansas City, and had to settle for a 0-0 draw and putting off playoff qualification for another two weeks.

I wouldn’t have known the Red Stars were in a playoff race. Here they had an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot but their play looked much as it did in April. Slow and steady is fine, I guess, and a lack of immediate urgency is fine, I guess. But in a game where a win would’ve sorted out a postseason berth, the Red Stars seemed oddly content to just play things by ear in the first half hour.

When the hydration break is the most thrilling development of the game so far, you know there’s a problem.

Easily the biggest moment of action for the first half: Yuki Nagasato getting punched in the head by Nicole Barnhart. (Yuki was okay, thankfully, but yikes.)

Chicago couldn’t conjure any late magic and both teams went into the break with nothing to really talk about.

After a slow start to Act II, the Red Stars finally had a good look at goal in the 55th minute; a corner kick pinged around the area before ending up at the feet of Sofia Huerta, who fired from close range. Barnhart saved it, just, but it was by far Chicago’s best chance of the day.

A few minutes later, Huerta sent in a great ball that found Christen Press’ head at the far post. Alas, Press couldn’t steer it into the net.

These two interludes aside, the second half featured a whole lot of Whatevering. I zoned out until the 75th minute and a quick scan of MKOT Twitter showed that I didn’t miss a thing. You didn’t either.

FCKC applied some strong pressure late. They must’ve realized that dropped points today would’ve ended their season. Shea Groom and Sydney Leroux both had some close calls very late, forcing Alyssa Naeher to come up big to keep Chicago in it.

In the end, a goalless draw was the best the Red Stars could hope for. KC’s season is done, and Chicago will have to nail down a postseason berth in two weeks.

The Chicago Red Stars (10W 6D 6L, 36pts, 3rd place) are off next week due to the international break. They’ll try to lock down that playoff spot on the 23rd in Houston.