PREVIEW: FC KANSAS CITY OPENS 2015 NWSL SEASON AT HOME ON SUNDAY

Blues begin their title defense when they host Sky Blue FC

FC Kansas City vs. Sky Blue FC

Date: Sunday, April 12, 2015 – 3 p.m. CT

Stadium: Sporting Park | Kansas City, KS

Live Stream: YouTube

Gameday: @BluesGameday #FCKCvSBFC

PRAIRIE VILLAGE, KS. (April 10, 2015) - The defending National Women’s Soccer League champions FC Kansas City will kick off the 2015 season when they host Sky Blue FC at Sporting Park on Sunday afternoon.

Head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s team’s thirteen unbeaten games at home will be on the line when they face Sky Blue FC. The Blues finished the 2014 regular season 8-0-4 at home before beating the Portland Thorns FC in a home playoff game that sent them to the NWSL Championship match.

FC Kansas City also opened last season by hosting Sky Blue FC, with forward and U.S. international Amy Rodriguez notching the first goal for the club in a 1-1 draw. Rodriguez scored in all three games against SBFC in 2014 and would go on to tally 13 goals for the season – second most in the league, trailing only 2014 NWSL MVP Kim Little’s 16 goals.

On the other hand, head coach Jim Gabarra’s squad nearly reached the playoffs for the second year in a row. However, Sky Blue FC’s efforts weren’t enough despite winning their last five matches.

Most recently, both teams wrapped up their preseasons undefeated, each with four victories. For the Blues, rookie Shea Groom contributed three goals for Kansas City, while returning midfielder Erika Tymrak led the team with five tallies.

The Blues will enter the league’s third season with a strong core of players led by two-time Defender of the Year and U.S. Women’s National Team Becky Sauerbrunn along with 2014 U.S. Soccer Female Athlete of the Year Lauren Holiday, veteran goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart and Rodriguez as the leading attacker. In addition, three-time Olympic gold medalist Heather O’Reilly will join the Blues after being acquired by Kansas City during the offseason.

New Jersey’s backline will be led by Kelley O’Hara since longtime USWNT captain Christie Rampone is out due to a left knee MCL sprain.

Gabarra will be eager to see what forward and Denmark international Nadia Nadim can do with more than six appearances. The mid-season addition last season was the inspiration behind Sky Blue FC’s big finish – with seven goals and three assists in just five starts.

Great tickets are still available for the match and can be purchased by calling 855-4KC-GOAL. The match will also be streamed live on YouTube, and play by play will be available by following @BluesGameday on Twitter.