As FC Kansas City boarded a plane home from New York last weekend, soccer coach Vlatko Andonovski began to worry about how his team might respond to its first loss of the season. Well, in actuality, it wasn’t just the loss — a 2-1 defeat at Western New York — that worried him but rather the manner in which the Blues fell.
By SAM McDOWELL
The Kansas City Star
They were slower, less aggressive and unable to gather the technical flow they had shown in the opening three games of their National Women’s Soccer League schedule. That didn’t sit well with Andonovski.
While Andonovski will find out Saturday how the Blues respond — FC Kansas City plays host to Boston at 7:30 p.m. at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium — he believes he already has his answer.
“I found out I was a little more concerned than any of the players,” he said. “Because one day later, we had already bounced back. The attitude in practice has been tremendous.”
Yes, there are adjustments that must be made in a game setting, but that starts with the weeklong preparation. Over that time, FC Kansas City put its primary focus on finding a way to reinstall its aggressive, attacking style.
Midfielder Lauren Cheney said she believes that will come with an adjustment in mentality.
“I don't think much of anything went right in New York,” said Cheney, who tallied FC Kansas City’s lone goal. “Mentally we have to be better than that. You just have to fix your mistakes and move on.”
Most notably, FC Kansas City is seeking a return to its staunch defensive effort that led to a 2-0-1 start.
In the loss to Western New York, there were a pair of defensive lapses that allowed striker Abby Wambach to score two goals in a 5-minute span.
Boston presents similar challenges with a scoring attack that includes Sydney Leroux and Heather O’Reilly.
“I think they have a real strong team, especially with Sydney Leroux — she’s such a threat up top,” Cheney said. “And they’re solid from the back and in the midfield. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think we’re ready. We’re excited to be back in Kansas City and in front of our own fans.”
Boston sits in third place in the NWSL standings, with Western New York and FC Kansas City tied for fourth. Boston and FC Kansas City have played only four games, though, while the other six teams in the league have played at least five.
Metro Sports to broadcast FCKC games
Time Warner Cable’s Metro Sports will televise eight FC Kansas City home games this season, beginning with Saturday’s tilt against Boston.
Brad Porter will take the lead on play-by-play during the games, while former 16-year professional soccer player Jim Schwab will provide color commentary.
Wambach voted player of the week
In the aftermath of a two-goal outing against FC Kansas City, Western New York striker Abby Wambach was selected the NWSL player of the week for the fifth week of the season.