The relief that FC Kansas City felt after its victory against the Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday was obvious from the post-game smiles and yells that echoed outside the locker room.
The Blues entered the game with a draw and two losses, but left with a 1-0 victory, which coach Vlatko Andonovski thinks can spark the team.
They get their first test against the Houston Dash at 7 p.m. Saturday at BBVA Compass Stadium. The game will be shown atFCKansasCity.com
“It’s a relief and a confidence-builder because we were playing well but couldn’t get the win,” Andonovski said. “I think that after this win, we are going to be able to turn this season around and get back on track.”
In the first three games, Andonovski had pointed to the team’s inability to close out the victories. The Blues gave up a 1-0 lead against Sky Blue FC and were tied 1-1 before allowing a pair of goals in the team’s losses to the Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns FC. Although FC Kansas City tied forthe National Women’s Soccer League lead with 24 shots on target they resulted in just three goals.
This time, however, the Blues were able to defend the 1-0 lead even without Lauren Holiday who played sick and was subbed out in the 59th minute.
“Vlatko spoke about the last 15 minutes being played with heart, and he saw a lot of it out there,” Amy Rodriguez said. “Our subs came in and were a big spark and a lot of energy for us.”
This will be the first meeting between FC Kansas City and the Houston Dash, which became the NWSL’s ninth club and first expansion team in the off-season. The Houston roster features three former Blues: goalkeeper Bianca Henninger,forward Teresa Noyola and defender Lauren Sesselmann, who is currently out with a torn ACL. Noyola is leading the Dash with two goals.