Something changed for FC Kansas City in the last month, and it’s not just the return of the four FIFA Women’s World Cup champions.
Coach Vlatko Andonovski said he saw the shift against Chicago on Aug. 1, but the team has hit its stride with back-to-back shutouts at home against Western New York and Portland.
“We would get it for a game or two and then relax again, going back and forth like a roller-coaster ride,” Andonovski said. “For three games now, going into the fourth, we have the right mentality in practice, we have the right mentality off the field and hopefully we can continue that going into the playoffs.”
The Blues have three more regular-season games to capitalize on their newfound focus and wrap up one of the National Women’s Soccer League’s four postseason berths. They are in fourth place going into the match at 7 p.m. Saturday at Swope Soccer Village against the Boston Breakers, who are already eliminated.
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FC Kansas City’s poise has shown on both sides of the ball. It has outscored opponents 7-0 in the last two games and extended its undefeated streak to three games. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart leads the league with six shutouts, and the team has eight overall. The Blues are also tied for first in the league with 18 goals allowed through 17 games.
“One thing I like about the defenders is they enjoy their positions. They take pride in playing that position,” Andonovski said. “As a group, I think they jelled very well together, and hopefully we can keep doing a good job the next couple of games.”
FC Kansas City and Boston have already played twice this season, and split the series, but this match has added excitement as Heather O’Reilly plays against the Breakers for the first time since being traded and former Blues Kasey Kallman and Morgan Marlborough receive their 2014 championship rings. It will be the first return trip for Marlborough, a Lee’s Summit native.
Fans are also invited to stay after the game to hear Lauren Holiday, Shea Groom, Katelyn Rowland, Meghan Lisenby and Domi Richardson share personal stories to celebrate Faith and Family night. Boston’s Alyssa Naeher will also speak.