Updated: September 30, 2015

Kansas City seeks to win back-to-back titles tomorrow night


PORTLAND, OR (September 30, 2015) – FC Kansas City and the Seattle Reign FC will meet once again with their sights set on the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League title on Thursday at Providence Park. Last year’s championship game rematch will be nationally televised on FOX Sports 1 at 8:30 p.m. CT and in-game updates can be followed on Twitter at @BluesGameday.

Fans who are not traveling to Portland are encouraged to attend the Official Watch Party presented by Verizon and FC Kansas City at 810 Zone Lee’s Summit (1672 NW Chipman Rd, Lees Summit, MO 64081). The first 250 fans to arrive will receive a FREE Verizon/FCKC drawstring soccer bag.

Kansas City will once again have to defeat NWSL Shield winners, Seattle in order to lift the NWSL trophy for the second time in a row. However, that won’t be an easy task. Coach Laura Harvey’s team ended the regular season with an overall record of 13-3-4, 43 points and a total of 41 goals scored, best offense in the league. On the other hand, the Blues boast the best defense averaging one-goal per game.

Both teams have squared off a total of ten times in league history. Kansas City leads the All-time series 6-2-2 (including playoffs). In 2015, FCKC and SRFC each won once. On April 23, Amy Rodriguez scored the lone goal to earn a 1-0 victory over the Reign at Swope Soccer Village before falling at Moda Pitch Memorial Stadium 2-1 on June 27.

Seattle and Kansas City advanced to the 2015 NWSL final after defeating the Washington Spirit and the Chicago Red Stars in the semifinals. Each team took 3-0 victories at Moda Pitch and Toyota Park respectively.

Midfielder Lauren Holiday looks for a dream send off after announcing her retirement from professional soccer back in July when she scored the game-winning goal in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup final to help the U.S. win its third title.

The 2013 league MVP helped the Blues to the franchise’s first NWSL crown last season assisting Rodriguez twice in the 2-1 victory over the Reign.

“I’ve cried over this way too much because it really does sadden me to think that I’m not going to play with one of my best friends anymore, but retirement after an awesome career is so amazing and I’m excited for her,” Rodriguez said in a conference call with reporters last week. “I can’t tell you how many times she made me and [other players] look good on the field because of all the work that she does.

The match will also feature Coach of the Year winners Vlatko Andonovski (2013) and Laura Harvey (2014 and 2015) as well as three-time Defender of the Year Becky Sauerbrunn, who was the only player in the USWNT roster to play every single minute in the World Cup.

In addition, Seattle’s Lauren Barnes and Stephanie Cox as well as Kansas City’s MVP Amy LePeilbet and Leigh Ann Brown (formerly Robinson) are the only players in their teams to have played all 1800 minutes this season. Both teams also combined for a total of six players in the league’s Best XI.

FC Kansas City’s midfielder Jen Buczkowski will be playing her fifth final in six years and is the only player in the NWSL to have started all 66 games in each of the league’s three seasons.

“I don’t think [Buczkowski] gets as much credit as she deserves and how much she contributes and does for our team,” Rodriguez said. “She makes things a lot easier for a lot of us and puts in so much work that goes so many times unnoticed.”

Coach Andonovski will be looking to get on the board first having posted a 9-2-1 record this year when scoring the opening goal of the match, second only to Seattle (10-1-2).

“Even though we know everything about Seattle and they know everything about us I think it’s going to be a good game and good show,” Andonovski said. “Both teams are very creative and can change their games on a dime. … Seattle are a great team. They won the [NWSL Shield] for a reason and they’re the best team in the league, no question about it and it’s not going to be easy to compete against them.”