Match Fit got on the board right before the half, but a red card to Match Fit keeper, Colleen Brennan, saw the complexion of the game change, and allowed Kings Hammer to capitalize with two late goals.
"Having the keeper get sent off is such a game changer at this level," Kings coach Jon Pickup said. "They had a field player come in and play, so our tactic changed completely as we tried to get as many shots on net as possible, and we were able to break through."
The goalless draw was broken in the 40th minute when Match Fit’s Kayla Jennings received a bouncing pass into the center of the box and volleyed it home to put Match Fit up 1-0.
In the 68th minute, Kings Hammer’s Katie Murray snuck past the Match fit defense and found herself and Brennan in a race to get to the ball that was bouncing right outside the box. Murray reached the ball first and she headed it to the right before she was taken out by Brennan. The collision ended with Murray receiving a red card, and field player Annie Monaghan filling in.
"We made a mistake on a throw and that led to that situation. Whether or not she should have received a red card doesn’t matter," Match Fit head coach, Jordan Raper said. "We will still have a shot at advancing so we will try to get the goals we need and hope Louisiana gets the job done."
It only took four minutes for Kings to capitalize as Bayley Feist found herself wide open after a cross slipped through the box. Feist cashed in on the opportunity, and she immediately found herself at the bottom of a dog pile courtesy of her teammates. The game looked to be heading for a tie, but Lauren Nemeroff netted the equalizer in stoppage time after receiving a square pass in the box.
"Match Fit is a good team, and I would have been happy with a tie," Pickup said. "I told the girls at halftime they had their destiny in their own hands, and they had 40 minutes to change it. We are going to enjoy this win for a little bit before starting to prepare for our game Friday."
Kings Hammer will take on 97 Louisiana Fire Navy (LA) Friday July 26th at 11:30 a.m. on field three, and Match Fit will play fellow New Jersey team Toms River FC Elite United 96/97 (NJ) at the same time on field four.