by Brian Turrel
The Kansas City Current made a spirited second-half comeback Sunday evening, rallying from a two goal deficit to earn a 2-2 draw against Orlando, extending the team’s run of success to eight straight matches without a loss.
Kansas City’s defense held Orlando harmless through the first 25 minutes, but the visitors’ first shot was a keeper — an Erika Tymrak cross from the left that Celia Jimenez headed inside the near post.
The Current generated more offensive chances in the first half, but only a Kristen Hamilton drive up the middle required more than a token effort from Orlando goalkeeper Erin McLeod.
Kansas City was down 1-0 at the break, Orlando quickly counter-attacked on Kansas City’s second-half opening kick, doubling the lead in the 46th minute. Goalkeeper A.D. Franch was knocked down in close action in front of the Kansas City goal, and the ball fell to Orlando’s Julie Doyle to put into an empty net.
The two-goal disadvantage seemed to heat up the Current’s offense. Direct, accurate forward passes set up the Kansas City attack for multiple dangerous chances.
In the 57th minute, Hailie Mace won a duel at midfield and flipped the ball to Elyse Bennett. Bennett, a halftime substitute, swerved through the right side of the Orlando defense and ricocheted a shot off the far post and into the net to start the comeback.
Sloppy distribution passes in the Kansas City backfield gave Orlando some dangerous possessions in the second half, but the defense recovered each time and kept the visitors’ tally at two.
In the 82nd minute, CeCe Kizer drew the match level at two. She split Orlando’s central defenders with a run straight up the middle and then chipped the ball high over goalkeeper McLeod.
Past the keeper, Kizer needed only to touch the ball into the open net for her third goal since joining the Current in June.
Kansas City kept straining to score a third goal and a victory, and nearly succeeded with a short range shot from Hamilton that was smothered by McLeod in stoppage time.
The Kansas City Current has two games on the road at the San Diego Wave and North Carolina Courage, and the team plays its next home match against Angel City FC on Aug. 19, kicking off at 7 p.m.