As U.S. Women’s National Team coach Jill Ellis tours the country checking on veterans and scouting new players, her trip to Kansas City came at the perfect time.
On Saturday night FC Kansas City hosted Alex Morgan and the Portland Thorns FC, who are the defending National Women’s Soccer League champions, and won 1-0. It was the team’s sixth consecutive victory, and it also extended the team’s undefeated streak to eight games. National team goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart recorded her fifth straight shutout and has now held opponents without a goal in her last 496 minutes.
She is just one of five national team players that Ellis was able to see on FC Kansas City’s roster along with Lauren Holiday, Amy Rodriguez, Becky Sauerbrunn, and newcomer Sarah Hagen, who all made the roster for two games against France in June.
“I like how Kansas City plays,” Ellis said. “I like how they connect and they move the ball really well. They are a fun team to watch and to see A-Rod and Holiday connect was good and Becky in the back and Barnie. I think they played very well against a very good Portland team.”
Ellis and her assistants have been visiting various NWSL teams to evaluate talent for their future rosters with World Cup qualifiers coming up this August. She said the next camp roster will be limited to just 18 players but after that the team hopes to start inviting some new faces.
“We are looking to continue to strengthen and deepen our pool,” Ellis said. “I was very pleased with the talent on the field. It was pretty special.”
Holiday scored the team’s lone goal on an assist from Rodriguez. It was Holiday’s sixth goal of the season and Rodriguez’s first assist.
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