FC Kansas City midfielder Desiree Scott seemed to hardly notice the woman sprawling out before her in Sunday’s home game against Orlando Pride.
It was the 50th minute, no score yet on the board, and Scott was guarding Becky Sauerbrunn, an FCKC center back focused on taking the ball away from the Pride’s Kristen Edmonds. If Sauerbrunn missed her tackle a few feet outside the goal box, Scott would be at Edmonds’ right side to keep her from coming closer to the line.
Sauerbrunn, who leads the NWSL with 30 clearances this season, executed her play handily — the ball scooted back into the middle third of the field and into FCKC’s posssesion. Edmonds stumbled without the ball. Before Scott could halt her momentum, she tripped over Edmonds’ prone body and landed on her own left ankle as she fell.
In an instant, the holding midfielder who’s been dubbed “The Destroyer” for her tenacity had nearly destroyed herself. Scott was able to shake off the pain within two minutes and did not miss a second in the game, which ended in a 1-1 draw.
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But Scott is now the latest among a group of FCKC players to suffer an injury in the first month of the season. She’s listed as doubtful for Saturday afternoon’s home game against Portland Thorns FC, joining probables Shea Groom and Sydney Leroux on the club’s injury report.
Scott is the most likely player of the three to miss the 3 p.m. match at Swope Soccer Village. Groom’s been nursing a broken rib since FCKC’s second game and Leroux, who experienced neck spasms late this week, is coming off just her second full game. Leroux practiced with the team Friday.
Coach Vlatko Andonovski’s club has held its own with one true forward in the past, but a team that’s only scored three goals over four games this season isn’t likely to sideline a striker for another match if it’s avoidable.
It doesn’t help that the hits keep coming. Scott, who missed the first two games of the season with a left ankle sprain, had just hit her stride in the defensive third. Becca Moros is projected to start in Scott’s place.
The silver lining is second-year pro Brittany Ratcliffe has established herself as an effective attacking midfielder and played an active role alongside the backline in limiting FCKC opponents to three goals this season.
On the few chances the Blues had in the first half last week, she was consistently in the mix, playing the ball up from the corners to find the feet of her FCKC teammates. And on the defensive end, Ratcliffe played a large role in keeping five-time FIFA World Player of the Year Marta scoreless for the first 70 minutes of the game. Marta scored after Ratcliffe, who hurt her knee in the 70th minute, was taken out of the game for precautionary reasons.
“She gives us a little different dymanic as a team,” Andonovski said. “Her pace helps us out and one thing that she does well is really use the space that (Leroux) usually creates behind her or on the side.”
But that’s not helping the Blues earn points. They’re ninth in the 10-game league with four points, and they’ll need a good showing against Portland, a team with a plus-two goal differential, to spark momentum a few games before the international break in June.
Saturday’s game will be available to stream online at go90.com and on the go90 app.
Portland Thorns at FC Kansas City
3 p.m. Saturday, Swope Soccer Village