NWSL Match Preview: FC Kansas City vs. Portland Thorns FC - June 30, 2013

Thorns FC return to Kansas City where they faced FCKC in first NWSL game

Matchday Preview, Thorns @ FCKC, 6.30.13

Photo Credit: 
Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer

Match Information
FC Kansas City vs. Portland Thorns FC

Date: Sunday, June 30, 2013
: 1:10 p.m. (Pacific)
Location: Verizon Wireless Field (Overland Park, Kan.)
Forecast: 84 degrees, partly cloudy
Webstream: www.portlandthornsfc.com

Portland Thorns FC and FC Kansas City square off for the second time in the month of June and third time overall during the inaugural NWSL season on Sunday. Coming off a scoreless draw on the road against Sky Blue FC on June 22, Thorns FC are unbeaten in three straight games, including back-to-back shutouts on June 16-22.

Head coach Cindy Parlow Cone’s squad conceded 20 shots against Sky Blue FC, but goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc made a season-high seven saves, stopping back-to-back attempts in second-half stoppage time, to preserve the road point for Thorns FC last week.

FC Kansas City is playing for the second time in five days after traveling to face Sky Blue FC on Wednesday. Despite taking a 2-0 lead into the 75th minute, FC Kansas City conceded the game-tying goal in the 84th minute and the equalizer in second-half stoppage time for a 2-2 draw. The Blues suffered a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Red Stars on June 23 in their most recent home game.

Last Time Against FC Kansas City
The last meeting between Portland and FC Kansas City was an offensive slugfest as Thorns FC came out on top with a 4-3 win before 10,886 fans at JELD-WEN Field on June 6. Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan opened the scoring in the 13th minute and midfielder Courtney Wetzel tallied her first career NWSL goal in the 20th minute, staking Portland to an early lead. FC Kansas City got one back on a penalty kick in the 34th minute by Lauren Cheney. Substitute forward Danielle Foxhoven tallied a third goal for Thorns FC in the 48th minute, but the Blues matched it with another goal from Cheney in the 56th minute to make the score 3-2. The teams traded goals once more as Allie Long deflected in a goal for Portland in the 66th minute and FC Kansas City’s Erika Tymrak scored in the 81st.

Scouting FC Kansas City
Sunday’s match marks the tail end of a three-game, eight-day stretch for FC Kansas City in NWSL play. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s squad suffered a 3-1 loss at home on June 16 against the Chicago Red Stars while playing without any of their national team members. On Wednesday, FC Kansas City grabbed a two-goal lead on the road against Sky Blue FC, but conceded twice in the final six minutes with the match ending in a 2-2 draw.

The month of June has been packed full of games, as Sunday’s is the seventh game for FC Kansas City during June. Prior to Sunday, the club earned a mark of 3-2-1 through six of their seven matches this month.

U.S. Women’s National Team standout Lauren Cheney is the NWSL scoring leader with seven goals and five assists (19pts), while forward Renae Cuellar has added five goals this season for the Blues.

NWSL Player of the Week
Thorns FC goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc was named the NWSL Player of the Week for Week 11 of the season after making a season-high seven saves, including two in second-half stoppage time, in a scoreless draw against Sky Blue FC on June 22. LeBlanc, a Canadian international, leads the league with an 0.64 goals-against average.

Weirmer, Ramirez Make First Appearance
In a scoreless draw against Sky Blue FC on June 22, newly acquired Thorns FC forward Tiffany Weimer and defender Casey Ramirez each earned their first appearance with the club. The pair signed with Portland from Danish club Fortuna Hjørring a few days prior to the match against Sky Blue FC. Weimer, 29, who finished the 2012/13 Danish Elitedivisionen season with a team-high 11 goals (14 in all competitions) for Fortuna, started and attempted a team-high four shots against Sky Blue FC. Ramirez, 23, entered the match as a substitute in the 65th minute for defender Emilee O’Neil and contributed in keeping Sky Blue FC scoreless for the final 25 minutes of the match.

On the Road
Thorns FC are the only remaining team in the NWSL with an undefeated record away from home. In six road games, Thorns FC have earned a 4-0-2 record while scoring eight goals and conceding just two. Portland has registered four of its six shutouts away from home.

Magic Number
Thorns FC are 7-0-0 when scoring two or more goals this season. In seven of the team’s eight wins, Portland has tallied two or more goals, including a streak of four straight wins when scoring twice in a game (April 21-May 12). When scoring the first goal, Thorns FC are an undefeated 8-0- 0, including 4-0-0 when scoring first on the road.

Staunch Defense
Away from JELD-WEN Field this season, Thorns FC have not conceded a goal on the road in 274 straight minutes, last conceding a goal on the road in the 86th minute of a 2-1 win at the Washington Spirit on May 4. On the road, Portland has only conceded two goals (one in each half). Thorns FC conceded a goal in the third minute of the league’s first-ever match on April 13 against FC Kansas City (a 1-1 draw), and an 86th-minute penalty kick in a 2-1 win at Washington (May 4). Overall, Portland has conceded a league-low nine goals in 12 games. Thorns FC have pieced together back-to-back shutouts twice this season (May 19-26; June 16-22).

Super Sub
Thorns FC forward Danielle Foxhoven ranks third on the team in scoring with three goals this season, all of which have come as a second-half substitute. Foxhoven, who scored in the 48th minute of a 4-3 win against FC Kansas City on June 6 as a halftime sub, has appeared in 11 of the team’s 12 games - 10 times off the bench. The former University of Portland standout has scored at a clip of .78 goals per 90 minutes, which ranks first on the team.

Sinclair in Canada’s Walk of Fame
Thorns FC forward Christine Sinclair was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame on Tuesday. In being inducted, Sinclair becomes the first soccer player - male
 or female - to be named to the prestigious list of notable Canadians. Sinclair
 will formally receive her tribute on Sept. 21, along with the seven other 2013 inductees at Elgin Theatre in Toronto in a nationally televised awards show. Other notable Canadian athletes that have been inducted into the Walk of Fame (which was established in 1998) are Steve Nash (basketball), Mario Lemieux (hockey), Bobby Orr (hockey), Wayne Gretzky (hockey) and Ferguson Jenkins (baseball). The seven others inducted with the Class of 2013 are Bob Ezrin, Terry Fox, Victor Garber, Craig Kielburger, Marc Kielburger, Oscar Peterson and Alan Thicke.