Matchday Preview, Thorns @ FCKC, 6.28.14

FC Kansas City vs. Portland Thorns FC

: Saturday, June 28, 2014
: 5 p.m. (Pacific)
: Verizon Wireless Field at Durwood Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)

: 84 degrees, scattered thunderstorms
: Josh Wilkens
Assistant Referees
: T.J. Zablocki, Alexander Lutmann Fourth Official: Devin Blazek


Match preview

Portland plays its second match in four days, traveling to take on FC Kansas City on Saturday, June 28, at Verizon Wireless Field at Durwood Stadium; kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. (Pacific). Saturday’s match is the first on the road against FC Kansas City, and the second meeting between the two teams this season.

Thorns FC were unable to find a late equalizer in a 2-1 loss to Sky Blue FC at home on Wednesday. Christine Sinclair scored her third goal of the season in the match and her second in as many games. Defender Rachel Van Hollebeke made her first start of the 2014 season.

Portland is 11-3-5 all-time on the road in all competitions, dating back to the 2013 season. Thorns FC are 3-2-1 all-time against FC Kansas City, including a 3-2 win last season in the semifinals of the NWSL playoffs at Verizon Wireless Field.

Last time against FC Kansas City

Forward Jessica McDonald registered a brace and goalkeeper Nadine Angerer made six saves as Portland earned a 3-1 victory in its home opener on April 26 against FC Kansas City at Providence Park. Tied at 1-1 in the 84th minute, McDonald slotted a shot past FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart from close range following a nice passing sequence between Long and substitute midfielder/defender Sarah Huffman, for the game-winning goal. McDonald added her second goal of the match four minutes later lobbing a shot over the goalkeeper after receiving a long pass from midfielder Mana Shim. Shortly before halftime, midfielder Allie Long staked Thorns FC to the lead as she outmaneuvered a defender down the right flank and into the penalty box where she was cut down by defender Becky Sauerbrunn and awarded a penalty kick in the 44th minute. The two teams finished level on shots, 16-16, while Portland earned the advantage in shots on goal, 10-7.

On the road

Thorns FC is 11-3-5 all-time on the road in all competitions, dating back to the 2013 season. Portland has continued its strong road form in 2014 with a record of 3-1-2 away from Providence Park. In 19 road matches since 2013, Thorns FC have outscored their opponents, 28-16. Portland has conceded multiple goals on the road just four times and registered eight shutouts. This season, midfielder Allie Long has scored three of her five goals on the road, while forward Christine Sinclair has tallied two of her three goals away from the Rose City. On Thorns FC’s last visit to FC Kansas City, Portland earned a 3-2 overtime win in the semifinals of the NWSL playoffs.

An old fashioned shootout

With both clubs featuring a wealth of attacking talent, it is no surprise that Thorns FC and FC Kansas City have produced some exciting matchups. In six meetings dating back to the 2013 season, including the playoff semifinal, the two teams combined for 25 goals. In four of the six matches, both teams scored multiple goals. Thorns FC have scored 13 goals in the all-time series against FC Kansas City, with goals coming from eight different players. Midfieler Allie Long has three goals in the all-time series, while forwards Alex Morgan and Jessica McDonald have each tallied a pair of goals. FC Kansas City forward Lauren Holiday is the leading goal scorer in the all-time series (5). In 2014, both Thorns FC and the Blues rank among league leaders in attacking statistical categories. Both rank among league leaders in shots attempts (KC 189, POR 219) and shots on goal (KC 104, POR 99). Portland (91) and FC Kansas City (73) are first and second, respectively, in the NWSL in corner kicks.

Scouting FC Kansas City

FC Kansas City enters Saturday’s match coming off a 1-0 win against the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday. Midfielder Jen Buczkowski scored the first goal of her NWSL career in the 76th minute, extending FC Kansas City’s winning streak at home to three games. FC Kansas City enters the week riding a five-game winning streak and is unbeaten in its last seven games. FC Kansas City has yet to drop points a home this season with a record of 5-0-3 at Verizon Wireles Field at Durwood Stadium. During FC Kansas City’s seven game unbeaten streak, the team has outscored its opponents 11-4, while posting three consecutive shutouts at home. Head coach Vlatko Andonovski’s team ranks second in the league in goal-scoring (24), while having conceded the third fewest goals (17). FC Kansas City is led by forwards Amy Rodriguez and Lauren Holiday, a pair that has combined for 14 goals. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart leads the league with six clean sheets.

NWSL Player of the Week

Thorns FC forward Alex Morgan was named NWSL Player of the Week for Week 11. Morgan scored her first goal and tallied her first assist for Thorns FC in 2014 on June 21 against the Spirit. Morgan finished the game with a brace, her first for Thorns FC, while adding an assist on forward Christine Sinclair’s goal in the fifth minute. She finished the game with eight shots (5 on goal). Morgan became the third player in club history to score a brace, while also setting a single-game club record for points (5). Morgan missed the first nine games of the season due to injury, making her 2014 Thorns FC debut June 7 against Western New York. She missed Portland’s June 15 match against Washington as she was away on international duty.

Scoring chances

Portland has registered double-digit shot attempts in nine consecutive matches and 12 of 13 matches this season. Forward Christine Sinclair leads the NWSL in shots (49) and shots on goal (26). Forward Jessica McDonald ranks among the top three in the league in both categories with 38 shots and 22 shots on goal. Midfielder Allie Long also ranks among the league leaders in shots (32) and shots on goal (14). Thorns FC leads the league in shots (219) and ranks second in shots on goal (99). Portland is averaging 16.8 shots per match this season, tallying 15 shots per match on the road. Thorns FC have recorded double-digit shot attempts in six of their seven road matches in 2014.

Comeback fall short against Sky Blue

Thorns FC held a 18-7 advantage in shots against Sky Blue FC on Wednesday night, but conceded the game-winning goal in the 65th minute in a 2-1 loss at Provindence Park. Trailing 1-0 at the half, forward Christine Sinclair scored her third goal of the season, and her second in as many games, bringing Portland level in the 54th minute. Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Brittany Cameron registered five saves in the match as Portland pushed for an equalizer with a 9-3 advantage in shots in the second half. In second-half stoppage time, defender Rachel Van Hollebeke had a shot inside the box go over the crossbar, while Cameron made a diving stop on forward Alex Morgan’s shot from close range.