FC KANSAS CITY HEADS TO CHICAGO
Captain Lauren Holiday Returns to Team for Match
After a scoreless draw against Western New York Flash on Sunday, FC Kansas City will hit the road to Chicago. The ‘Blues’ battle the Red Stars for the third time this season; this will be the second meeting in the Windy City. Chicago is coming off of a 2-0 win against the Washington Spirit on Wednesday. Kickoff is set for 3:00 PM CT at Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill on Sunday.
FC Kansas City hosted Abby Wambach and the rest of the Flash on Sunday July 7. The match was crucial for both teams. Kansas City could have passed Portland in the National Women’s Soccer League standings with a win and Western New York could have passed Kansas City with a win. The pressure of the standings was not the only thing weighing on the players; the temperature was in the upper 90’s with temps on the field reaching 100+ degrees at times. Lauren Holiday, formerly Cheney, was still absent from Kansas City while she wrapped up her wedding to NBA player Jrue Holiday. The game started and so did Kansas City’s possession-minded offense. The ‘Blues’ dominated the ball in the first half, having nine shots on target. The Kansas City defense held Western New York Flash to only three shots on target; none before the 33rd minute. Wambach tried to counter attack after the first shot with a header that was blocked by Becky Sauerbrunn’s head. In the second half, both defenses remained strong through multiple attempts. Wambach and McCall Zerboni were the driving forces for the Flash offensively. Courtney Jones led the ‘Blues’ in shots on goal, while midfielders Jen Buczkowski and Merritt Mathias had two on target. The Flash and the ‘Blues’ fought to score at least one goal, but the game would end 0-0.
Chicago visited the Washington Spirit in Maryland on Wednesday. The Red Stars controlled possession in the first half, only allowing the Spirit one shot on goal. Chicago had plenty of plays and opportunities to score, but at halftime the score remained 0-0. Red Stars Lori Chalupny and Taryn Hemmings had a close play in the 54th minute, but Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris came out to save. Newly acquired Canadian forward Adriana Leon would put Chicago on the board with a goal in the 63rd minute. Ella Masar subbed in for Chicago shortly after the first goal. Leon went for her second of the night with a bicycle kick, it found Masar who put it in and upped the score to 2-0. The Spirit brought in Tiffany McCarty in hopes of coming back, but the Chicago defense held on to the clean sheet.
Sunday will be the third of four scheduled meetings between FC Kansas City and the Chicago Red Stars. The series is currently tied at 1-1, the road team winning both times. Kansas City won 2-0 at the end of a three game road trip while Chicago visited Overland Park the following Sunday and won 3-1. Both teams will look different in this match. Kansas City alone was missing six players from their regular lineup. Though the Red Stars saw the depth in the Kansas City bench, the international players will bring a new challenge. Chicago’s Lori Chalupny plays a physical game, Kansas City defenders Lauren Sesselmann and Becky Sauerbrunn will have to keep this in mind for Sunday. Kansas City will also return Lauren Holiday to the lineup, who missed the last two games attending to her wedding.