No national team players, no problem for FC Kansas City.
The Blues defeated the Houston Dash 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston in their first game without four Women’s World Cup call-ups.
FCKC’s two goals came from Liz Bogus and Shea Groom, who were making their first starts of the season.
“It is very important to win without the national players and especially the very first one,” FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “I think it is a good confidence builder for us, especially for some of the younger players that stepped in.”
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Amy Rodriguez, Lauren Holiday, Becky Sauerbrunn and Heather O’Reilly are all away on U.S. women’s national team duty.
With Saturday’s victory, the Blues improved to 2-2-0 and handed the league-leading Dash its first loss of the season.
The first goal came from Bogus — a two-year league veteran — in the 41st minute off a corner kick. The Dash had cleared the Blues’ first shot, but Bogus was there to collect the rebound and fire a shot in from outside the box. It was just her second goal across 16 matches with the Blues.
Groom, a rookie, nearly added another 1 minute later on a breakaway before former FC Kansas City goalkeeper Bianca Henninger tipped it over the crossbar for the Dash.
Groom, however, did not back down.
She buried a header into the back of the net in the 51st minute for her first professional goal. Sarah Hagen had the assist.
It was also the first start for Groom, a Liberty High School graduate who was selected 12th in the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League College Draft by FCKC.
“When the national team players are not here, at least one of the younger players will have to step in and make a name for herself, and I am happy Shea is the one that did it,” Andonovski said. “If she keeps going like that, she is going to get better and make our team better.”
Groom subbed out in the 77th minute, which allowed Kansas graduate Caroline Kastor to make her professional debut. Groom’s former Texas A&M teammate Meghan Lisenby, who was selected 16th in the draft, also saw game time. Their amateur call-ups came as a result of the national team absences.
With the victory, the Blues doubled their goal total of the season, and goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart collected her second consecutive shutout. She led the league with eight last season and 10 in 2013 when she earned goalkeeper of the year honors.
The Blues will conclude their two-game roadtrip at 6 p.m. on Friday against the Western New York Flash at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester.
FC Kansas City 2
KANSAS CITY: Nicole Barnhart, Elizabeth Bogus (Mandy Laddish, 70th), Shea Groom (Caroline Kastor, 77th), Sarah Hagen, Frances Silva, Yael Averbuch, Jen Buczkowski, Erika Tymrak (Meghan Lisenby, 88th), Amy LePeilbet, Rebecca Moros, Leigh Ann Robinson.
HOUSTON: Bianca Henninger, Melissa Henderson (Tiffany McCarty, 59th), Jessica McDonald, Kealia Ohai (Allie Bailey, 77th), Rachael Axon, Jordan Jackson (Cami Privett, 58th), Ashely Nick, Allyscha Chapman, Nikki Cross, Ella Masar, Carleigh Williams.
Kansas City: 1, Bogus 1 (unassisted), 42nd minute. 2, Groom 1 (Hagen 1), 51st minute. Houston: None.
Shots on goal
Kansas City: Moros (foul), 63rd.
Kansas City: None.
Referee: Margaret Domka.
Assistant referee: Jennifer Garner.
Assistant referee: Jeffrey Greeson.
4th official: Christina Hutchinson.
Announced attendance: 4,186.