By the time FC Kansas City kicks off in Portland on Saturday night (9:30 p.m. against Thorns FC), it will be almost three weeks since the Blues last scored a goal.
They shuffled through a scoreless draw in Seattle in late June. Then they couldn’t keep up with Washington last Saturday in a 2-0 loss, bringing Kansas City’s record to 2-5-4.
FCKC has scored six goals in its 11 games — the second-worst offensive numbers in the National Women’s Soccer League this season. The leading individual goal-scorer in the league, Lynn Williams from Western New York, also has six.
“This season, more so than any other season before, the ball has bounced the other way,” FCKC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “We’ll get around the goal, create an opportunity, and we’ll hit the post or the goalkeeper will save. And then on the other end, we’ll have one miskick and we’ll get scored on.”
The opportunities have been there. Forward Shea Groom is sixth in the league in shots on goal (12). In the match against Washington last week, FCKC had as many shots (13) as the Spirit, including five on goal.
Wednesday’s film session lasted an hour, not the normal 20 minutes, because there were so many offensive chances to review.
“We watch the segments where we get in the offensive third of the field, and (Wednesday), (the session) was triple the length because we were in the offensive third of the field three times more than usual,” Andonovski said. “That tells you that we’re doing well getting there. The problem is being more efficient.”
Against Portland this weekend, FCKC will face one of the only defenses better than its own. While Kansas City has allowed nine goals all season, ranking third-best in the league, Portland has been even more stout, giving up seven.
A significant part of that Portland defense won’t play Saturday. Defenders Meghan Klingenberg and Emily Sonnett and midfielders Tobin Heath, Lindsey Horan and Allie Long are all at U.S. Women’s National Team camp this month.
Midfielder Amandine Henry, a World Cup starter for France last summer, will be part of the remaining Portland squad.
But if FCKC can get past that defense even once, the team thinks the momentum could balloon.
“We’ll outwork teams, but we just need to be a little cleaner in the final third,” forward Tiffany McCarty said. “It just takes a goal or two. Once you get one, the floodgates open.”