FC Kansas City at Washington Spirit (Maryland Soccerplex)
7:30pm E.T./6:30pm C.T.
FC Kansas City (7-4-2, 23 points) is coming off a 2-0 win over Portland on June 30. Lauren Cheney scored her league-leading eighth goal of the season and Merritt Mathias added a second half tally to hand the Thorns their first road loss of the season. The win came four days after the Blues gave up a late lead in New Jersey to earn a draw with Sky Blue FC.
Cheney has been impressive and earned June Player of the Month honors on Wednesday afternoon but will miss both of FC Kansas City’s matches this week because of her wedding. The Blues will look to the rest of their attacking contingent in Melissa Henderson, Erika Tymrak, Sinead Farrelly and Courtney Jones to find the back of the net tonight.
FC Kansas City made headlines this week when they dealt Mexican forward Renae Cuellar to Seattle in exchange for midfielder Teresa Noyola. Cuellar found the back of the net five times for the Blues but had struggled to fit into the FCKC system. Noyola is unlikely to be available for the match, but should feature for Kansas City on July 7.
Kristie Mewis has played the last three matches as a left back (four if the June 15 USA/South Korea match is counted). The US National team is not very deep at the left back position – is this a move on the club side to help her solidify a place on the national team? Time will tell, especially if Vlatko Andonovski continues to play her in the back.
FC Kansas City does not have anyone listed on this week’s injury report.
The Washington Spirit (1-7-3, 6 points) fell to the bottom of the table on June 28 after suffering a 4-0 loss against the Western New York Flash. The result was a frustrated goalkeeper and the Spirit parting ways with Mike Jorden and his coaching staff. Washington Spirit Reserves head coach Mark Parsens was named head coach on Monday.
The Spirit are mired in a scoring drought which has not seen them score since a 4-2 win over Seattle on May 16 – a streak of 456 minutes. They picked up forward Lindsay Taylor from Seattle on Monday and if the former Stanford product can break into the lineup, she could provide a spark up front.
Washington will also look to German forward Conny Pohlers to create scoring chances up top. The VlF Wolfsburg forward has yet to find the back of the net, but the Spirit haven’t been able to get her the ball enough in dangerous positions for her to be making an impact.
Diana Matheson spent much of June on national team duty with Canada and then came back to the club injured with a sprained ankle. She’s expected to be back in the lineup and will hopefully be able to link the midfield and the forwards together.
The Spirit have plenty of attacking players, albeit young attacking players. Both Stephanie Ochs and Tiffany McCarty have the potential to be goal scorers on this team and the Spirit will look to both, plus Pohlers to get them on the board.
The Spirit announced over the weekend that rookie forward Caroline Miller will miss the remainder of the season with a stress fracture in her right ankle. Robyn Gayle will miss the match with a knee sprain (making a thin defense even thinner).
The only matchup between these two clubs came on June 23 when Lauren Cheney notched a goal in each half to give the Blues a 2-0 victory. Kansas City peppered Ashlyn Harris with shots but was unable to finish more than those two.
The Spirit were unable to get many quality opportunities on goal. With Cheney absent and Cuellar now in Seattle, Washington may be able to find more of the attack and test Nicole Barnhart.
Season Series: 1-0-0 FC Kansas City