When FC Kansas City and the Western NY Flash met last Sunday, the Blues knew it was going to be a tough battle. In their previous meeting in New York, FC Kansas City head coach Vlatko Andonovski described the Flash as "the team that clearly out played us and deserved to win the game."
In that previous meeting, Flash forward Abby Wambach scored twice and had a couple other dangerous chances. The Blues were just not able to handle her size and strength at that time. Since then the Flash had only gotten stronger by adding U.S. National Team midfielder Carli Lloyd to their roster.
This time Wambach, the international goal scoring record holder was limited in her chances by a tough, organized Kansas City defense. Blues defensive mids Jen Buczlowski and Desiree Scott and central defenders Becky Sauerbrunn and Lauren Sesselmann all played a part in limiting Wambach's chances throughout the game.
Wambach agreed that she had a tough time in the match. "They are strong defenders back there. I've played with Becky for four or five years now. She is so smart, reads the game so well that you have to be in perfect position every time in order to get anything accomplished. Sesselmann had a great game and we had a great battle going all game. I don't score a goal so in my opinion they get the win for the day."
"This time we were a little more prepared physically," Andonovski observed. "I think we showed them that we can compete with them, last time they outplayed us in every aspect of the game. This time we showed we can compete with them and at any time this game can go either way. "
Wambach had nothing but praise for the Blues. "Kansas City is composed on the ball, tactically they play really good soccer and they are physical as well. They've got all the tools to win a championship. We've got to get better, play better soccer."
" A lot of the time in the first half we were rushing it, playing long ball," Wambach continued. "People may think that because I am a huge target forward, that's the kind of game I want to play and it's actually not. I don't want balls to my head all the time, in fact I would like to play with the ball at my feet somewhere in the middle of the field and then in the eighteen, that is when I like the ball to my head."
While the Blues defense and mid frustrated New York's attack throughout the game, limiting them to only six shots, the Blues were unable to solve Flash keeper on the other end. Adriana Franch, a Salina product was up to the task and turned away ten shots to make it clean sheets for both teams.
The Blues were without the services of star midfielder Lauren Cheney while she was getting married. When she returns to the lineup she will be Lauren Holiday (married to NBA star Jrue Holiday).
"The scariest part is that one of the best players in the entire league wasn't here," stated Wambach. "When you add Lauren Cheney to the mix the way this team is playing right now, they are a top team, a contender for the championship."
Player of the match - Lauren Sesselman
While the whole Blues team contributed to keeping the best striker in the world off of the score sheet, it was Sesselmann that bore the bulk of the physical duty and it was evident by the end of the match just how tough it was. The Canadian defender was bruised an sore but pretty happy with keeping Wambach scoreless.
Runnerup - Erika Tymrak
Tymrak did a good job running the offense in Cheney's absence, created lots of chances but was unable to put one away.