For nearly 80 minutes, FC Kansas City continued its offensive struggles that have been evident all season. But in that 80th minute, Becky Sauerbrunn powered upward, headed a goal just inside the far post and secured a 1-0 win against the Houston Dash.
The win Sunday at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston was the second victory of the season for FCKC, 2-3-4, after waiting seven matches for its first.
Sauerbrunn, a center back, isn’t usually the go-to player for end-of-the-game offensive heroics. Her game-winning header was only the second goal of her National Women’s Soccer League career.
“She’s one of the top players in the world,” FCKC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “For her to be the number one player in the world she needs to be a contributor on both sides. Now with her getting dangerous in the box, I think that puts her over the edge towards becoming the best player in the world.”
But FCKC will take it, after a season spent struggling on the offensive end.
FC Kansas City’s best chance before Sauerbrunn’s goal came in the 72nd minute, when Heather O’Reilly fired from distance. Her shot bounced off the bottom of the crossbar and back into the box.
FCKC and the Dash, 2-1-5, lived up to the poor goal-scoring statistics they’ve maintained all season with a combined five shots in the first half. The Dash haven’t scored a goal since May 7. FCKC had five goals in eight games before Sunday.
Houston was playing without its World Cup star, Carli Lloyd, who has a sprained MCL. But The Dash sent several chances flying towards Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, especially in the second half.
Barnhart tapped Allysha Chapman’s dart from 35 yards out just over the crossbar in the 53rd minute. And she didn’t even get the chance to save Rachel Daly’s shot in the 66th minute, which bounced off the far post, and was the closest the Dash would come to scoring.
“I think this season when we needed it the most, she (Barnhart) came up big,” Andonovski said. “We don’t want to look too far ahead of us but we’re playing well. We’re just taking one game at a time.”