Knowing that he would lose four players to the FIFA Women’s World Cup, FC Kansas City coach Vlatko Andonovski wanted his Blues in position to defend the title upon their return.
There were some bumps along the way, but Becky Sauerbrunn, Lauren Holiday, Amy Rodriguez and Heather O’Reilly, made their first appearance in nine games last week with the fourth-place Blues and helped record a 1-1 draw against the Houston Dash. There was a sellout crowd of 3,557 fans to welcome them back.
“No one can take that away from them, that is such a great accomplishment, but now we have a job to do,” Andonovski said.
The Blues will now dive into the final third of the season, looking to wrap up a playoff berth in the final seven games. One of the biggest matches of that span is a rematch between the Blues and the Dash at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday at BBVA Compass Stadium. It will be broadcast live on FOX Sports GO.
FC Kansas City has a 5-5-3 record across 13 games, which ranks them fourth in the National Women’s Soccer League. Seattle Reign FC, last year’s runner-up, has played one more game and leads the league with an 8-3-3 record. The two in the middle are the Chicago Red Stars and Washington Spirit. The Dash are fifth at 4-4-5.
The four World Cup champions made an impactful return, combining for 11 of the Blues’ 14 shots against Houston despite playing their first game with the squad since April 23. Rodriguez led the team with seven shots and two on goal.
“I was very happy with the way they fit in, Becky and Cheney especially since they have been here since the get-go,” Andonovski said. “Last year, A-Rod was tremendous and fit in very well to help us win the championship. HAO came in this year, but has tremendous soccer knowledge and understands our philosophy.”