FC Kansas City shuts out Portland to win its sixth straight match

06/28/2014 9:28 PM

06/28/2014 10:42 PM

With Alex Morgan and the defending National Women’s Soccer League champions in town, FC Kansas City’s national team duo of Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Holiday took it upon themselves to keep their team’s five-game win streak alive.

Late in a seesaw first half, Rodriguez connected with Holiday, who knocked it in for FC Kansas City’s lone goal in the 1-0 victory against Portland Thorns FC on Saturday night at UMKC’s Durwood Stadium.

It was the sixth straight victory for the Blues, who are undefeated in their last eight games having outscored opponents 12-4 over that span. They also improved their home record to 6-0-2.

“That was a huge win for us,” Holiday said. “We have been playing pretty well and it wasn’t necessarily pretty, but it was really important that we win.”

After a shot by Holiday in the third minute, Portland dominated the next 15 minutes with six straight shots and two on goal. They held FC Kansas City without another shot until Rodriguez broke through in the 29th minute.

However once Rodriguez took that shot, the Blues controlled the rest of the half, firing off four more in the last 15 minutes of the half including the goal by Holiday.

In the 41st minute, Rodriguez went streaking down the left side and sent a cross into the box that was deflected by Portland’s Nadine Angerer. The shot pulled Angerer out of the box, allowing Holiday to knock her sixth goal of the season into the right side of the net. It was the first assist of the season for Rodriguez.

Holiday found the goal again in the 63rd minute, but she was offside. It was one of only three second-half shots for the Blues, who also held the Thorns to three to secure the victory.

FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart held on after a first-half collision and recorded her fifth consecutive shutout and NWSL-leading seventh of the season with three saves. The Blues have held opponents scoreless in five of their last six games, including one match when Barnhart was away on U.S. Women’s National Team duty.

With the victory, FC Kansas City evened the season series with the Thorns, who won 3-1 on April 26. The two will meet for their third and final regular-season match on July 13 in Portland.

To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to kgier@kcstar.com.

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