FC Kansas City players and coaches said they wanted to repeat as NWSL champions so they could send Lauren Holiday off into retirement on a high note. They accomplished that goal Thursday night in Portland when the Blues defeated the Seattle Reign and took their second straight NWSL championship.
The rematch of the 2014 final between defending champion FC Kansas City and the league leading Seattle had all the ingredients for a great match. Two teams that like to play good soccer, the two best offenses, the two best defenses, national team stars up and down the roster and the emotional retirement of one of the best in the game. Throw in the desire of Seattle, last year's runner-ups to want to redeem themselves after losing it at home and the match could have went in any direction.
Up through the middle of the second half saw opportunities in both directions with Seattle coming close when Megan Rapinoe had a shot go off the post. It took until the 78th minute for someone to break through one of these stingy defenses.
Last year the score line seemed to always be Holiday to Rodriguez. The lone goal was started by Holiday when she was able to spy Heather O'Reilly as she rushed down the left side and sent a long ball that was just tipped to O'Reilly. The speedy winger quickly crossed the ball into the middle of the Seattle box where Amy Rodriguez headed the ball past Hope Solo.
Seattle turned up the pressure for the rest of the match but the FC Kansas City defense held strong and closed the game out to become the first NWSL team to earn back-to-back championships.