With a fresh apple pie and an American flag just out of reach, FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski humbly admitted to his most recent and perhaps most exciting achievement since coming to the city back in 2001.
The Macedonian-born coach and former Comets player became an American citizen last Thursday morning and returned to work that afternoon to coach his Blues to a 0-0 draw against the Western New York Flash at Swope Soccer Village.
“It feels great,” Andonovski said. “It was an exciting ceremony, and I’m happy that I got the certificate.”
In his short time leading both franchises the Blues and the Comets, he has won both a National Women’s Soccer League and Major Indoor Soccer League championship. He was also named the 2013 NWSL coach of the year.
Coaching FC Kansas City has as of late meant having to go it without four top players who are with the U.S. Women’s National team, which is preparing for the World Cup.
The defending NWSL champions have overcome an 0-2 and now rank second in the league with a 3-2-1 record after four consecutive shutouts. The Blues play host to the undefeated and league-leading Chicago Red Stars at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
“We tweaked the formation a little bit to take care of some of the holes we had defensively last game, and I think we did a very good job containing them,” Andonovski said of the Blues’ recent match with the Flash.
In the previous match, which was also against Western New York, the Blues pulled out a 1-0 victory, despite being outshot 19-7. FCKC got a season-high eight saves for Nicole Barnhart.
Rookie Katelyn Rowland stepped into goal for the rematch and anchored an improved defensive effort with three saves on five shots in her first professional start.
Rowland, a UCLA grad who was selected with the 17th overall pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft, brought a decorated resume that includes NCAA records with 55 career shutouts and 19 single-season shutouts.
Lee’s Summit graduate Mandy Laddish also made her first professional start in the match last Thursday. She appeared in two matches for the Blues last year and has now played 133 minutes across three matches in 2015.