FC Kansas City has won both of its NWSL championships against Seattle Reign FC. But in the Blues’ latest trip to Seattle Sunday night, they still couldn’t record their first win of the 2016 season.
FCKC, 0-2-1, fell 1-0 to the Reign after a 56th-minute goal from Kim Little.
Early in the second half, Seattle’s Merritt Mathias tracked a flyaway ball – which briefly lured FCKC goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart out of the net – into the near corner. Keeping the ball inbounds, Mathias sent a cross inside that eventually landed with Little. Little took one quick first touch, and sent a blistering strike into the back corner of the net for the only score of the day.
“One thing we were trying to do was to have someone always around her, but she did a great job moving away and creating space for herself,” FCKC coach Vlatko Andonovski said in a phone interview from Seattle. “It was really an individual effort.”
The sequence, which started with a Reign fast break, was in stark contrast to the scoreless first half. Both teams hung back to focus on possession early, creating a gridlock with few chances.
The possession-oriented style is what many have come to expect when these two teams play. Sunday’s game was a rematch of last year’s low-scoring NWSL championship game, which FCKC won 1-0.
“Every time these two teams play each other the game comes down to one mistake or one individual performance, and this time it came down to Little,” Andonovski said.
“We’re not happy with the results and the way things are going for us. … But we’ve been in this situation before and gotten out of it so hopefully we can do the same thing this season.”