FC Kansas City is a loss or a Western New York win away from playoff contention elimination. But it still had reason to celebrate this weekend.
The Blues rallied from a 1-0 deficit to beat Sky Blue FC 2-1, and recorded the franchise’s first-ever comeback win. That victory is fueling the team’s conclusion to the season. And it’s a representation of the squad’s personality, they say, despite a down year by FCKC standards.
“I think our team is very resilient and very gritty,” defender Yael Averbuch said. “I think it says a lot about this team that not only are we still fighting and wanting to do the best we can ... but also that we’re able to come from behind.”
To make the playoffs, FCKC will have to recreate what happened Sunday, but on a much larger scale. The odds are stacked against the two-time defending National Women’s Soccer League champions: At 5-8-4, the team no longer controls its own destiny. If fourth-place Western New York wins or draws against last-place Boston on Wednesday, the result would knock FCKC out.
Kansas City will have to handle its own business, too, and win at Chicago, a match that will kick off Wednesday at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports 1. The teams have played twice this season — once ending in a 0-0 draw, and the most recent ending in a 1-0 Chicago win.
Despite the unlikelihood of a postseason berth, FCKC is still taking heart in how it’s finished the year — winner of three of its last six games, including an upset win over Western New York and the comeback against Sky Blue.
“This team has character; this team has a drive and has a fight,” head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “Unfortunately in the previous few years the balls that were bouncing our way just didn’t (this year). That’s the game of soccer. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new era and we can start something that can carry into next season.”
For now, though, FCKC will enjoy the pride of its historical comeback, even if the season itself ends in something else unprecedented — not making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history.
“It’s nice, because this season hasn’t really gone the way we had hoped and planned for, so kind of little victories is what you need to take now,” defender Becky Sauerbrunn said. “You need things to motivate you for the rest of the season. It’s nice to get a win like that and remember what it’s like to win like that.”