The National Women’s Soccer League’s two-week break could not have come at a much better time for FC Kansas City.
Not only did the Blues get to watch teammates Lauren Holiday, Becky Sauerbrunn, Amy Rodriguez and Katrina Gorry play in the group stages of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, but they also got to relax and refocus going into the second half of their championship defense campaign. It starts again at 9 p.m. against Portland Thorns FC at Providence Park, and the game will be streamed at fckansascity.com/live-feed.
“We had a great two weeks of practice and the mentality and the attitude of the players is tremendous,” FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski said. “That is one of the problems we had in the last couple of games, so hopefully all that is behind us and we are ready for the next one.”
FC Kansas City skidded into the break with a scoreless draw and a pair of losses in its last three games. The Blues dropped to seventh in the league standings with a 3-4-1 record in eight games. Portland is not doing much better — sitting in eighth at 2-3-3.
The pressure is on for the Blues, who are five points out of first place with 12 games left in the regular season.
“When you look at the schedule we are pretty much in the middle of the schedule, so from now on, every game is a big game,” Andonovski said. “It’s not that we lower the standards, by any means, but every team is a good team and anyone can beat anyone at any time. That is what makes this the best league in the world.”
Portland will play without eight players who are participating in the World Cup for their respective countries, including the USA’s Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath.