When FC Kansas City acquired forward Amy Rodriguez from Seattle Reign FC last November, it was looking for a player who could make a quick impression.
In her first National Women’s Soccer League start she did just that, scoring a first-half goal as FC Kansas City played Sky Blue FC to a 1-1 draw in Saturday night’s season opener at UMKC’s Durwood Stadium. It was their fourth meeting and second draw between the two teams, which split the three-game series last season with each getting a victory in addition to the draw.
“I’m happy that I could come in and make an impact right away,” Rodriguez said. “I want to make my mark on this club and be a big part of this team. I wish it was enough today, but unfortunately it wasn’t.”
The goal held a little extra importance for Rodriguez, a 27-year-old Lake Forest, Calif., native, who missed the inaugural NWSL season to have her son last year. In her debut, she led FC Kansas City with six shots and four shots on target. She scored her goal in the 42nd minute on an assist from Kassey Kallman, who was selected in the first round of the NWSL College Draft in January.
“I can say that is pretty much what we expected,” coach Vlatko Andonovski
said. “We got her to score goals, to be dangerous, to create opportunities for us, and that is what she did. I was very happy to see her perform the way she did, and I believe that we will see many more goals from her this season.”
FC Kansas City took a 1-0 lead into halftime. But just 2 minutes into the second half Sky Blue FC’s Katy Freels tied the score with an unassisted goal.
“It was busy in the box, and I think there was a quick little deflection which the girl got on and kind of caught us off guard,” Rodriguez said.
FC Kansas City held Sky Blue FC to just five shots in the game, and only two were on goal. Freels’ second-half goal came from the only shot on target of the period. FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart was credited with one save.
FC Kansas City had 14 shots with nine shots on target in the game. Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Jillian Loyden recorded seven saves.
“I’m happy with the performance, but not happy with the result,” Andonovski said. “We were up 1-0 and gave up a goal. Overall, you’ve got to be happy with the opportunities. We had three great opportunities to score, and on the other side, especially in the second half I don’t remember that we gave up a shot except the one that unfortunately went in.”