Defense driving FC Kansas City’ success during six-game win streak

07/05/2014 6:20 PM

07/05/2014 6:20 PM

As FC Kansas City has put together a nice winning streak, the team’s confidence has been growing. Both of those effects can be traced back to the success of the defense.

The Blues have won six straight games and are undefeated in their last eight with five consecutive shutouts from gaolkeeper Nicole Barnhart, who on Thursday was selected as the Army National Guard Player of the Month, as NWSL’s top player for June.

“She is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and I think she’s shown it,” defender and fellow U.S. women’s national team member Becky Sauerbrunn said. “She has kept us in games many times, she has had some big saves and that is what you need your goalkeeper to do.”

Under the leadership of Barnhart and Sauerbrunn, FC Kansas City has allowed just one goal in the last six games. That one goal came off an own goal on a corner kick by the Houston Dash.

“It’s good to know that team’s aren’t breaking us down and are just getting opportunities off set pieces and PKs,” Sauerbrunn said. “We’re solving problems as the game is going on.”

FC Kansas City will look to continue the streak when it faces Sky Blue FC at 5 p.m. on Sunday at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. The game will be streamed online at fckansascity.com/live-feed.

It will be a battle of two stout defenses. Sky Blue FC shut out Seattle Reign FC on June 28, becoming the first team to shut out Seattle this season. Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron had six saves, including four in the first half.

This will be the second meeting between Kansas City and Sky Blue. The two teams played to a 1-1 tie in the season opener on April 12. Amy Rodriguez, who leads the Blues with nine goals, scored just before halftime off an assist from Kassey Kallman. Katy Freels hit the equalizer for Sky Blue FC in the second half.

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

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