Even though Western New York’s Abby Wambach was listed as doubtful before Wednesday night’s game against FC Kansas City with an ligament sprain in her left knee, fans wearing her jersey were scattered through UMKC’s Durwood Stadium.
Wambach, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and 2012 FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, ended up being forced to watch from the bench as the Blues shut out her Flash 1-0. It was the second straight victory for FC Kansas City, which is undefeated in its last four games.
“They always give us a hard time because they are very disruptive in the middle,” Blues coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “They are definitely a team that is tough to play against, but that makes the win even bigger.”
The only thing that could have made it better would have been if Wambach was not missing from the opposing lineup. But Blues coach Vlatko Andonovski said that did not take away from the accomplishment.
“Abby being out is huge for them, but let’s not forget that this is the first game we have played full strength, if we call it that,” Andonovski said. “We had injuries and we played back-to-back games, but that is just part of it. We have to do our best regardless of who is in front of us.”
After 44 scoreless minutes, Amy Rodriguez, who was reunited with her 10-month old son for the first time since before the team’s stretch of nine games in 30 days, put the Blues on the board. She received a pass from Leigh Ann Robinson on the right side of the box and knocked it in for her ninth goal of the season.
“We have been practicing that the last two days in practice, so my assistant coach made a comment about it after the game and we were able to share a good laugh and really relish that goal,” Rodriguez said. “It felt really good, and I was happy to put my team up 1-0.”
The goal put her back into a first-place tie with Seattle Reign FC’s Kim Little for the scoring lead in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Defensively, FC Kansas City held Western New York to nine shots with just two on target while Nicole Barnhart recorded her fourth shutout of the season. She had one save in the match.
“It wasn’t pretty soccer,” Rodriguez said. “It was really separated because the ball would come up to me and the other forwards and it would be one versus five or two versus five, and then they would come right back down our throats. I thought our defense handled it well and Barnie had the shutout, which we always like.”
The game also signaled the return of Amy LePeilbet who missed last season with an ACL injury. She subbed in at the 84th minute.
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