After finishing in a 2-2 draw last week, FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski hopes his team comes out with an edge when it faces the Seattle Reign for the second consecutive week, this time around on Saturday night in Seattle.
“It’s going to be a challenge not just because it’s a back-to-back game, but because it’s against Seattle,” Andonovski said. “ Regardless of where you’re playing them, they’re a good team. We have to come out ready for the full 90 minutes. It’s never easy to play the same team twice in a row.”
Last Saturday was a physical battle as FCKC extended its undefeated home streak to seven games. Seattle forward Nahomi Kawasumi gave the Reign a 2-1 lead in the 81st minute, but FCKC’s Maegan Kelly scored the late equalizer (her first career goal) past Seattle goalie Haley Kopmeyer in the 84th minute.
Speedster Megan Rapinoe, who leads the league in goals (five), paced the Reign with its first score and an assist on Saturday. But Andonovski said FCKC’s concentration isn’t just on Rapinoe. Seattle goalie Kopmeyer leads the NWSL in saves (42), while Kawasumi is the league’s assist leader (six). Seattle also tops the league in total goals (19) and assists (13).
“She’s (Rapinoe) just one of the players we have to stop, they’re an incredibly dangerous team,” Andonovski said. “But she’s one of those players who can change a game on the dot. We just have to contain her, keep her out of the box and from making big crosses.”
FCKC (3-3-3, 12 pts) currently sits in seventh place in the NWSL standings, while Seattle (3-2-4, 13 pts) is in fifth. Both teams were handed a pair of yellow cards in last Saturday’s outing. Andonovski expects another aggressive match this time around.
“Every game is important,” Andonovski said. “I want a good, hard, physical game. It has always been like that against Seattle. A physical, aggressive battle — it’s a beautiful thing to see. It’s enjoyable to watch. I expect nothing short of that.”