FC KANSAS CITY EARNS 2014 NWSL CHAMPIONSHIP
This is the first Championship in Club History
KANSAS CITY, MO (August 31, 2014) – FC Kansas City won 2-1 over the Seattle Reign FC in front of 4,252 fans at Starfire Stadium in Tukwila, Washington and live on ESPN. Amy Rodriguez assisted by Lauren Holiday was a common theme this season and that continued in the Championship game as well. Holiday provided service for both of Rodriguez’s goals.
Seattle came out flying, creating numerous opportunities but the Blues’ defense was match for the pressure and that was all part of the plan for FC Kansas City head coach Vlatko Andonovski.
“Tactically we knew the first twenty minutes was going to be pressure coming from everywhere,” Andonovski explained. “Pressure was going to be coming from the front line, the middle, the back, from the fans the coaches, from everywhere. We knew they were going to throw everything at us. The job was to stay firm the first twenty minutes and then start playing our game right after that.”
Andonovski’s timing was just about perfect. In the 22nd minute Blues’ midfielder Holiday was sprung into space with room to run at the defense for the first time in the match. As Holiday ran straight at the Seattle back line Amy Rodriguez made a run wide and then back across the top of the box along the defensive seam. It was similar to the run she made for the winning goal in the semi-final with the same result in Seattle. Holiday’s direct run caused the Seattle defender to be back on her heels and was able to slide it wide to for Rodriguez.
Reign keeper Hope Solo started to come out but Rodriguez was able to loop it over her for the first goal of the match.
Seattle was no stranger to being down in the playoffs; they overcame a 1-0 deficit to defeat Washington the weekend before in their semifinal. After the goal the Reign turned the pressure up again and attacked in waves.
The best chance for Seattle came just a few minutes later when a cross found Reign forward Naho Kawasumi on the back post. Blues’ keeper Nicole Barnhart shifted to cover but it would have been a difficult save if Kawasumi had not directed the header just wide.
Seattle kept up the pressure throughout the rest of the half while FC Kansas City continued to play an organized defense and attacking when the opportunities were there.
The second half was very similar to the first. Seattle came out and created several chances. In the 47th Megan Rapinoe crossed to Kawasumi but Barnhart was there to hold on to the shot. In the 53rd Jessica Fishlock was tripped up just outside of FC Kansas City’s box. Kim Little, the 2014 NWSL Golden Boot and MVP winner to the direct kick and powered it just past the Kansas City wall. Barnhart was again in the perfect spot and she absorbed the shot.
In the second half it only took 11 minutes for FC Kansas City to get on the board. Holiday, the 2013 NWSL Golden Boot and MVP dribbled through pressure with defenders all over her and into the Seattle box. While fending off the Seattle defense, Holiday looked up and saw Rodriguez near the penalty spot and tipped the ball to her. From that range Solo had little chance on Rodriguez’s blast.
Unfortunately, Rodriguez went down with an unspecified injury and was subbed out in the 63rd for Sarah Hagen.
Seattle did not give up and they kept applying the pressure. FC Kansas City entire team played an organized defense and kept a clean sheet until the 87th minute. After shots hit the post, the cross bar and were blocked by defenders, Reign forward Megan Rapinoe was finally able to weave a ball through the Kansas City defense and into the net.
With the lead cut in half, the Reign threw everyone forward with even Solo up at midfield trying to get the equalizer but the Blues held.
Blues midfielder Lauren Holiday was very complimentary of her opponent. “Seattle was a phenomenal team to play. They came out to play and they played hard and had some great chances.”
“It’s great for our organization,” Holiday continued. “We’ve been consistent both years. We played well and we played good soccer. It’s such a great feeling to bring one home to Kansas City.”
This is the second championship this year for Coach Vlatko Andonovski. He led the Missouri Comets to the MISL Championship game where they defeated Baltimore to become the 2013-14 MISL Champions.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Seattle Reign FC vs. FC Kansas City
Date: Aug 31, 2014
Venue: Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, Washington
Kickoff: 2:00p.m. CT, 12:00p.m. PT
Weather: 71, Partly Cloudy
79 FCKC 17 Amy Lepeilbet Yellow Foul
|FC Kansas City||1||1||2|
|Seattle Reign FC||0||1||1|
|SRFC||Megan Rapinoe (Winters)||87’|
FCKC: Barnhart; Robinson, Sauerbrunn (C), Phillips, Kallman Buczkowski, Richmond, Mathias (LePeilbet 71st), Holiday, Tymrak (Bogus 76th), Rodriguez (Hagen 64’)
Subs not used: Keane; Silva, Marlborough, Gorry
SRFC: Solo, Cox, Barnes, Reed (Nogueira 84’), Fletcher, Winters (C), Fishlock, Little, Kawasumi, Leroux (Goebel 67’) , Rapinoe
Subs not used: Kopmeyer, Deines, Brigman, Dallstrom, Foxhoven,