It’s been 47 days since FC Kansas City last took three points from an opponent. It came against the Washington Spirit on May 27 when the Blues won 3-2, improving their record to 3-2-2 on the season.
Four losses and two draws later, FCKC sits in eighth place in the National Women’s Soccer League standings, with a record of 3-6-4. Despite only three wins, their 13 points leave them just seven points behind fourth place (Seattle Reign) in the league.
“This team believes in the process, regardless of the results, they are getting better individually, and we are getting better as a team,” FCKC head coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “The mentality on this team, in general, since day one, has been that we are fighting till the end.”
With the process staying the same, Andonovski decided to change the formation during last week’s 3-2 loss to Sky Blue FC, moving defender Christina Gibbons to center midfield.
Gibbons, who recorded an assist and scored a goal in her first start in the midfield in 2017, said although frustration has kicked in, the morale in the locker room remains high.
“Obviously, anytime you don’t get results you feel like you should have, people get frustrated,” Gibbons said. “I have been really impressed with how this team has been able to bounce back, after games, after long travel trips. We come out here with a good attitude every day and that’s all you can ask for.”
On Saturday, the Blues have yet another opportunity to collect three points and rise in the standings, as they’ll travel to Orlando to take on the Pride. Orlando sits in sixth place, but it has just three more points than FCKC.
Andonovski was pleased with Gibbons’ play at center midfield and will continue to use her in that role against the Pride.
“I thought she (Gibbons) was exceptional, as she came in and assisted a goal and scored a goal,” Andonovski said. “She was active throughout the whole game. ... She’s a very intelligent player who you can put in any position and I feel like she’s going to do good.”
Orlando won’t be an easy three points for the Blues, however, as the Pride has one of the more potent offenses in the league. They rank fourth in goals scored (19) in comparison to FCKC, which ranks eighth (13).
Additionally, Orlando has forward Marta Vieira Da Silva, who was named the FIFA World Player of the Year five consecutive times from 2006-10. Marta, 31, has the second most goals (eight) by any player in the NWSL this season, trailing just Samantha Kerr of Sky Blue and Megan Rapinoe (Seattle).
Following their match against the Pride, FCKC will be host to the first-place North Carolina Courage on July 22. But for Gibbons and the Blues, the focus is on Orlando.
“It’s one game a time, it’s always been that way,” Gibbons said. “It’s tough to look too far into the future in this league, and every game is a battle.”