Before this weekend, FC Kansas City had yielded one goal in its last four matches, its defense second in the league in goals allowed. But two goals made it past goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart in a six-minute span Saturday night, as the Blues fell 2-0 to the Washington Spirit at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
FCKC, 2-5-4, hasn’t been an offensive powerhouse this season, scoring twice in the past three matches, and six times in its 11 games. But the team came into Week 11 of the National Women’s Soccer League season with the second-lowest goals against total (seven) and riding a four-game unbeaten streak.
FCKC couldn’t finish on chances of its own to keep up with Washington, although both teams had 13 shots. Shea Groom had the team’s closest brush to a goal in the 54th minute. After a cross inside from Tiffany McCarty, Groom went up for a header that scraped the top of the bar before bouncing back.
“We have to be more dangerous up front and we have to finish better when we get around the box,” FCKC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “It’s the most important part of the game when you’re already defending well.”
Never miss a local story.
A couple of chaotic second-half sequences in the box put a damper on FCKC’s defensive statistics. In the 79th minute, an attempted FCKC clearance of a Joanna Lohman shot rebounded straight to the Spirit’s Franny Ordega. Ordega reacted quickly enough to send a shot darting inside the far post before Barnhart could get in position.
Six minutes later, Ordega headed a shot on goal from a corner kick. But again, a rebound from an FCKC clearance — this time from Brianne Reed on the goal line — landed at the feet of a Spirit player. Tori Huster collected the ball on her foot and fired a shot behind Barnhart all in one smooth motion, giving Washington the 2-0 lead it would keep to the end.
“I thought we were good defensively,” Andonovski said. “Actually when the goals were scored, the first thing that came to my mind was I’m sorry for the girls because of the effort they put out there. … That’s the professional game — two little mistakes and it completely changes the game the way it did.”