FC Kansas City will take on defending champion Portland

07/12/2014 5:46 PM

07/12/2014 5:46 PM

Just two weeks after defeating the defending National Women’s Soccer League champions, FC Kansas City has a chance to win the regular-season series against Portland Thorns FC.

The series is split, with Portland winning 3-1 on April 26 at home, and FC Kansas City holding on for a 1-0 victory on June 28 at UMKC’s Durwood Stadium. This time, the action returns to Providence Park in Portland where the teams will play at 6 p.m. It will be shown on fckansascity.com/live-feed.

“We had a good game last time,” FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “We played very disciplined, very organized and aggressive but we are very aware of their quality and it will not be easy. Portland is also playing with their crowd, which is very loud and supportive.”

One key to the Blues’ success last match was their ability to shut down the Thorns’ top scorers, Jessica McDonald and Allie Long, while FCKC goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart recorded the fifth of her six straight shutouts. The backline also held strong against the powerful duo of Alex Morgan and Christine Sinclair, who have combined for another five goals this season.

Although the Blues have been led by their defense for much of their seven-game winning streak, the offense made a statement with a 5-0 victory last Saturday against Sky Blue FC. It was the highest-scoring game of the season for FC Kansas City, which is in second place in the NWSL with a 10-4-3 record.

The Blues will be facing a tough test, however, playing without national team forward Lauren Holiday, who was hospitalized following the Sky Blue game with symptoms of dehydration. Holiday, who ranks second on the team with seven goals and is tied for first with four assists, was ruled out on this week’s injury report.

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

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