FC Kansas City returned home from a two-game road trip to claim victory at Verizon Wireless Field at Durwood Stadium. Amy Rodriguez, who missed last Wednesday’s game while away with the U.S. Women’s National Team (USWNT), scored two goals in the win. Her fifth and sixth goals have put her ahead of the rest of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) scoring table.
Due to some lingering injuries, FC Kansas City coach started his fourth different lineup in as many games. Tonight marked the return of USWNT players, Rodriguez, Lauren Holiday and Becky Sauerbrunn. The veteran leadership down the team’s spine helped to bring continuity back to the Kansas City game play.
FC Kansas City looked to apply pressure early on. In the fifth minute Melissa Henderson drove up the byline on the right side, looking for Merritt Mathias on the near post. Her cross was on-target, but Mathias was being pressured from behind and was unable to get her shot on goal.
The play set the tone for the rest of the game, as FC Kansas City would look to drive towards goal throughout the night. Washington tried to take advantage of Kansas City’s pressure with quick counter-attacks, but the Blues were able to contain the attacks.
The stalemate was broken in the 36th minute. Leigh Ann Robinson carried the ball down the right side, sending a low cross to the middle towards Rodriguez. The initial cross missed Rodriguez’s foot, but Jen Buczkowski jumped on the loose ball and tapped an easy pass back to Rodriguez. The USWNT forward took two taps around her defender and sent a rocket of a shot to the left upper corner of the goal.
In the second half, Washington applied more pressure as Kansas City looked to defend its lead. Diana Matheson, who scored two goals in Washington’s earlier victory over Kansas City, ran across the entire formation looking for an opening. Midfielders Buczkowski and Jenna Richmond were there to thwart any chances she might have. However, in the 63rd minute, unable to drive towards goal, she found Danesha Adams open behind her. Adams, controlled the pass then took an arcing shot from 25 yards out that just dipped over goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart’s hands.
The game did not remain even for long. Less than a minute later, Holiday held the ball at the top of the penalty box, then sent a pass across the field where Rodriguez one-touched a shot into the near post, regaining the lead for her team at 2-1.
Kansas City held tight defensively as they looked to hold their lead and secure the win. The defensive shell did its job as Washington was held to only two shots throughout the second half.
The 2-1 win moves FC Kansas City into a tie for second place on the NWSL table with ten points. The team travels to Seattle on Wednesday for a showdown with the league’s top team, Seattle Reign FC. The match, scheduled for a 9:00p.m. CT kickoff, can be seen live on FCKansasCity.com/Live-Feed.
The team returns home again next Sunday, March 18 at 5:00p.m. for a second match with the Houston Dash. Four different players scored the last time these two teams met, as FC Kansas City earned a 4-0 victory on the road. Tickets are available for Sunday’s match by calling 855.4KC.GOAL.