The Orlando Pride hit the road for the second week in a row to take on FC Kansas City. Orlando (8-6-5, 29 points), in the midst of a three-match win streak, are in playoff position with five remaining -- while Kansas City (6-8-5, 23 points) are six points outside the top four.
Here’s what you should know about the Pride’s next opponent:
Orlando’s opponent is riding a three-match winning streak of its own. Most recently, revitalized FC Kansas City defeated Chicago by a score of 3-1 in the windy city. It was a complete performance from KC.
Before handing Chicago its third straight loss, FC Kansas City defeated Portland and Houston. Three consecutive victories have rejuvenated a Kansas City side that was struggling earlier this season.
Nicole Barnhart has been rock solid between the sticks for FC Kansas City. She made a huge penalty save on Christen Press’ effort in the first half against Chicago. Barnhart’s save came a pivotal point in the match, as KC were able to go into halftime leading.
The veteran goalkeeper has 36 NWSL clean sheets in her career -- three of which came in playoff matches.
Forwards Sydney Leroux and Shea Groom were also in-form against the Red Stars. Groom had two assists; one being a clever through pass near the edge of the box that Leroux got on the end of and finished clinically into the bottom corner.
The Kansas City midfield has looked vulnerable at times this season -- and at times against Chicago. The Red Stars goal came from a quick change of possession in midfield that KC was slow to react to. Chicago’s Julie Ertz dispossessed a Kansas City defensive midfielder and a quick give-and-go unlocked the KC defense.
Transition play in midfield areas of the pitch may open up scoring opportunities for the Pride.
The Pride are undefeated against Kansas City in 2017. On July 15, the Pride dismantled Kansas City by a score of 4-1 under the lights of Orlando City Stadium. Orlando were all over KC in that match in what was one the performances of the season for the Pride.
The teams also played to a 1-1 draw in early May.