From tonight’s match, here are the things that stood out to me.
Mandy Laddish: For much of the first half, FC Kansas City controlled the ball up and down the field. Everything started and went through Mandy Laddish. The 3rd year veteran continues to get stronger and more confident in her role.
In this one, Vlatko Andonovski played her in Lauren Holiday’s traditional spot, dropped right behind the forward. Throughout the opening half she flourished in that position, getting off two shots that required two incredible saves from Lydia Williams and one shot that just barely missed the upper corner of the goal.
“All week at practice we’ve been working on getting the ball and going forward, finding those pockets (in the defense) and going forward,” said Laddish. “Since they played with just one defensive mid, that allowed some pockets to open up and we were really mobile and worked well together.”
In the second half, Houston dropped another player back into the midfield which closed many of those pockets, but any chances FCKC had continued to go through Laddish.
The Five Minutes That Changed the Game : FC Kansas City looked to be the aggressor for about 85 minutes of the game. Fortunately for Houston, they only needed five minutes to put the game away. Around the 63rd minute, Houston adjusted their lineup to flood the central midfield, a move which confused Kansas City’s defense and forced some uncharacteristic slip ups.
First, Chioma Ubogagu chased down a loose ball inside the six-yard box and managed to Denise find O’Sullivan streaking in for the first goal. Not even a minute later, while her teammates swarmed on the left side, Ubogagu found herself alone at the top of the box and scored the game-winner for Houston.
Down 2-0, FC Kansas City once again found their possession-based attacking style, but it was too late as the Dash had taken full advantage of their five minutes.
FC Kansas City converted a Penalty Kick: Yael Averbuch has scored some of the most amazing goals from free kicks in her career. Tonight she was straight forward with her kick from the mark, converting Kansas City’s first goal from the spot in three tries this season. In the past, penalty kicks were nearly automatic for Kansas City as Lauren Holiday converted five of six and Casey Loyd her only attempt. Averbuch was the third different player to attempt the kick this season for Kansas City after misses by Heather O’Reilly and Shea Groom, and seeing as she’s the only one to score, she may be the only one to repeat if called upon again.
Tough night for Kansas City soccer: The Kansas City soccer community struggled tonight. Not only did FC Kansas City lose 2-1 at home, but their male counterparts Sporting Kansas City also lost to Houston (2-0). Adding to that, the USL squad played much of their match with 10 players and fell 3-0 to Saint Louis FC. Then the icing on the cake, Sporting KC-owned soccer bar, ‘No Other Pub’, was evacuated while all three teams were playing because of a potential gas leak.
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