Seattle Reign FC goalkeeper Hope Solo had known nothing but success in the National Women’s Soccer League, going unbeaten in the six matches she played before Saturday’s convincing 2-0 loss to FC Kansas City. And that probably had a lot to do with her opinion of the Blues.
By TODD ENGLE
Special to The Star
“Kansas City is a great team. I think the best team in the league,” Solo said. “They have a game plan. They know what they’re doing.”
FC Kansas City’s seven-match unbeaten streak is proof of Solo’s assertion. The Blues, 8-4-5, will put that streak on the line at 7:35 tonight against the Boston Breakers, 5-6-5, at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium.
The Blues, like the other teams in the NWSL, are stocked with international-level talent. FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski appreciates that talent’s willingness to be molded.
“We have good players, and good people,” Andonovski said. “Lauren (Holiday), (Lauren) Sesselmann, (Nicole) Barnhart, (Desiree) Scott. They’re national team players and stars, but they’re so down to earth, reachable and very good with teammates.
“It makes team chemistry and atmosphere tremendous. It’s a team everybody wants to be a part of.”
It’s also a team that the other clubs in the NWSL want no part of at the moment. Boston is the only team in the league the Blues have faced only once. FC Kansas City won that match 2-0 on May 18.
Boston’s Sydney Leroux has 10 goals this season, which ties her with Holiday and Western New York’s Abby Wambach for the league lead.
“Every team we played a month and a half or two months ago is better now,” Andonovski said. “Boston is a very good team with one of the top three strikers in the league in Leroux. They’re a team that will punish every mistake you make.
“We’re very aware of their strengths. We’re going to try to play very smart and eliminate all the mistakes we’ve been making in the past and hopefully stop their attack.”
FC Kansas City is third in the NWSL standings, two points behind league-leading Sky Blue FC. The good news is that a second straight victory would vault the Blues to the top of the standings.
Regardless, the Blues will have to defend their top-four playoff position with three straight road matches. The first two are against Sky Blue FC and Portland – the top two teams in the league.
Before FC Kansas City can worry about that, it will have to deal with Boston.