FC Kansas City Hosts Washington Spirit
By Scott Popp
KANSAS CITY (May 26, 2017) – FC Kansas City (2-2-2, 8 pts) looks to keep its three-match unbeaten streak going as they return home to host the Washington Spirit (1-4-1, 4 pts) at Swope Soccer Village Saturday at 7:00 p.m. CT. It is the second match-up in a week between the Blues and the Spirit, who faced off last Saturday in Washington D.C.
The Blues earned their first road win of the season in that 1-0 victory over the Spirit.
Midfielder Alexa Newfield scored her first professional goal in the 39th minute and the stifling Blues defense held strong, recording its third shutout of the season.
FCKC’s defense has been a focal point so far this season. The backline has only allowed three goals on the season, which leads the league. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart added to her NWSL record with her 35th shutout in the win against the Spirit.
Kansas City will likely be without one piece of their starting back four Saturday; FCKC’s 2017 first-round draft pick Christina Gibbons will be a game-time decision after picking up an injury in Washington. With the return of defensive midfielder Desiree Scott to the lineup, Becca Moros will be able to shift back to fill Gibbons's position.
Scott has been sidelined with her own injury problems. She was sidelined for the Blues game against Portland two weeks ago and was only able to make a late three-minute cameo appearance Saturday against the Spirit.
The Kansas City offense will try to generate some much-needed offense; they are currently last in the league in goals scored with just four in six games. A stat that head coach Vlatko Andonovski hopes to see improvement in sooner rather than later.
“The players are working hard to score. I’ve seen it in training the last two weeks and in the game last week. They are creating chances, and not even from the Sydney Lerouxs and Shea Grooms of the world,” said Andonovski. “Alexa (Newfield) was in the right place last week and she’s hungry for goals now. She’s looking to score every time she gets in position.”
The Blues have reason to be optimistic their offense will pick-up. Forwards Sydney Leroux, Shea Groom and Brittany Ratcliffe have started up top together for three consecutive games. The continuity has allowed the trio to develop chemistry and round into form, in addition to the development and growth of the Blues’ midfield.
For the Spirit it will be the second NWSL game for U.S. Women’s National Team standout, Mallory Pugh. Pugh made her debut for the Spirit Saturday after joining the team earlier that week. She came on as a substitute in the 55th minute, but was held in check for much of her first professional game.
The match is scheduled to kickoff at 7:00 p.m. CT and can be viewed live on go90, the new streaming home of the NWSL. go90 is available on iOS and Android platforms as well as online at go90.com.
Tickets are still available for Saturday’s match vs the Washington Spirit and can be purchased at here.