Jayhawks Drop Spring Opener to FC Kansas City, 3-1
LAWRENCE, Kan. – A pair of FC Kansas City goals within the opening 15 minutes proved to be the difference as Kansas soccer fell to the National Women’s Soccer League squad, 3-1 in its first spring exhibition match Saturday afternoon inside the Jayhawk Soccer Complex. KU played the professionals out of Overland, Park, Kan., even over the last 75 minutes with the help of sophomore Ashley Williams‘ goal in the 30th minute.
“Offensively we didn’t create a ton of chances today just because it was tough to deal with their athleticism,” said KU head coach Mark Francis. “Despite that I thought we really battled them all over the field today. Our organization and willingness to work for each other was a big positive to take away from this game.”
The Jayhawks, who saw eight of their 11 starters from the 2013 campaign suit up Saturday, went up against an FCKC squad which finished second in its league last year. KU fell to the Blues in its 2013 spring campaign, 4-0, but played the professionals in a more competitive contest in this go around.
The match didn’t begin on a great note for the Jayhawks as FCKC managed to find the back of the KU net twice in the first 15 minutes. The Blues’ Amy Rodriguez was found on the end of a through ball into the box which she converted into the first score of the match in the 13th minute. Two minutes later, Lauren Holiday got on the score sheet after shaking her defender at the top of the KU box and putting it home just inside the left post.
With FCKC up 2-0 early, the Jayhawks settled down and began to mount some offense of its own. In the 30th minute, Jamie Fletcher was fouled as she made a midfield run toward the FCKC goal. The junior then took the ensuing free kick from 30 yards out and found a streaking Williams, who had beat her defender inside the penalty area. Williams only needed one touch to get the ball passed the Blue’s goalkeeper, Sara Keene, and pull her team within a goal.
Both teams went back and forth over the next 20 minutes of action but neither was able to put together a threatening attack over that span. That is until the 51st minute when a Jayhawk was whistled for a foul in the KU box, giving the Blues a penalty kick opportunity. Lauren Holiday converted on the free kick to put in her second of the day and once again give her team a two-score advantage.
Kansas was unable to recover from the deficit, eventually falling to the Blues 3-1, but managed to show the KU coaches some positives and notes to take away as the squad heads into the middle of the spring schedule.
“Moving forward this spring we need to make sure we carry over the mentality that we played with today.” From a technical standpoint we have to do a better job when we have possession of the ball and if we can do those two things we’ll really get a lot out of this spring season.”
The Jayhawk will return to action next Saturday, April 29 when they welcome in the Iowa Hawkeyes for an exhibition match. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m., inside the Jayhawk Soccer Complex.
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