FC Kansas City's League Leading Defense Heads to Washington

KANSAS CITY (May 19, 2017) – FC Kansas City (1-2-2, 5 pts) is on the road this weekend as they face the Washington Spirit (1-3-1, 4 pts). This is the first matchup between these two teams this season and it will likely serve as the professional debut for Spirit rookie Mallory Pugh, who signed with the team earlier this week.

Kansas City comes into this game after playing to a 0-0 draw last week against the Portland Thorns in one of the strongest defensive battles of the season. Kansas City’s goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart posted her second shutout of the season in the game, adding to her NWSL record. The entire Blues’ defense has only given up three goals all season.

The struggle for the team so far has been on the offensive side of the ball. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski is optimistic about the progress being made on that side of the ball.

“We’ve had slow starts before and ended up winning championships. I’m not concerned. In fact, the spirit and attitude of the team this week has been incredible,” said Andonovski. “It’s always tough when you lose a player of Amy’s (Rodriguez) caliber so early in the season, but Sydney has been getting better every week and I’m very happy with what she brings to the team.”

Indeed, Leroux has improved with each game. Although she’s been held scoreless since the opening game, she has contributed in other ways and become much more involved in the offensive build-up. Her confidence has improved with each game as well. She’s played the full 90 minutes in each of the past two games and now leads the team in total shots (13) and shots on target (5).

Washington is third in the league in scoring with seven goals. Four of those goals coming in their last home game, a 4-3 shootout with Sky Blue on May 7th. They hope to increase their offensive production with the addition of young U.S. Women’s National Team standout, Mallory Pugh.

The 19-year-old Pugh recently decided to turn pro and was introduced as a member of the Spirit this week. In 22 appearances with the senior national team, Pugh has already scored four goals. FCKC hopes to keep her in check in her expected debut.

The game is set to kick-off on Saturday, May 20th at 6:00 p.m. CT. Fans can watch the game on go90, available online as well as on the iOS and Android platforms. The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) also announced this week that the game will also be broadcast on the NWSL website (NWSLSoccer.com) and NWSL App.

Single-game tickets are available for FC Kansas City home matches and can be purchased here.