FC Kansas City all but clinched their spot in the NWSL playoffs when they went on the road to defeat Sky Blue Sunday. A lone goal by Courtney Jones and a stingy defense gave the Blues a 1-0 win to extend their undefeated streak to nine and three straight wins.
The match was delayed for almost two hours with lightning in the area and a steady rain kept the field wet and conditions slick. Despite the adversity, Blues' coach Vlatko Andonovski was pleased with the performance of his team, "It was a hard game, a mentally tough game but we were ready to compete. We were ready to compete not just from the technical and tactical sense but also from the mental standpoint. We just kept battling all the way to the end and got the three points."
Jones goal came in the 76th minute, just two minutes after she subbed on to replace Melissa Henderson up top. Lauren Holiday swung a corner kick into the box and Jones was able to direct the ball past Sky Blue keeper Brittany Cameron. It was a strong challenge by Jones and Sky Blue coach Jim Gabarra felt that his keeper was fouled on the play but the goal stood.
"Courtney is a strong determined player," explained Andonovski."When she goes in, she gives us a little spark, a little more energy. You could see that against Boston and then she scores a goal and almost scores another one."
FC Kansas City was especially happy with the win to tie the series up with Sky Blue at 1-1-1, the only team they had not beaten yet. The win also helped the Blues erase the bad taste from the last meeting when Sky Blue scored two late goals to tie the game up.
The assist by Lauren Holiday gave her the lead in assists with 9 and she is also tied for goals scored with 10.
Blues are playing their best soccer
The Blues are up by four points over the next two spots (both teams trailing them have games in hand) and control their destiny. With the victory, FC Kansas City only needs one more point or Chicago to drop a point to be in the playoffs and they are now playing to get home field advantage.
"I don't know if we are going to go to Portland a little more relaxed but I do know the team is filled with confidence," Andonovski stated after the match. "It feels good, the girls believe in themselves and believe in what we are doing and just do a better job every game. It's the mentality, the confidence they have, believing in each other and believing in the system, believing in what we do and that helped us in the last ten game to just play better soccer each game."