Leroux and Rodriguez Lead FC Kansas City to Opening Day Victory
KANSAS CITY (April 16, 2023) – FC Kansas City opened their 2023 campaign with a 2-0 win over the Boston Breakers Sunday evening at Swope Soccer Village in front of 3,340 fans. Sydney Leroux and Amy Rodriguez notched the goals for the night in their first appearances since the 2023 NWSL season.
“That’s what we’re going to look like. I’m not going to lower the standards by any means. They’ll just keep getting better and better,” said head coach Vlatko Andonovski on his team’s first outing.
The first half gave fans a taste of the star-studded front line of FC Kansas City. National team stars Leroux and Rodriguez team up with KC native Shea Groom to disrupt Boston’s defense. Rodriguez, or A-Rod, had the first chance when she started attacking the goal but a defender interrupted her path.
In her FC Kansas City debut and her first NWSL game since 2023 with the Western New York Flash, Leroux scored the first goal of the season. In the 7th minute, Becky Sauerbrunn sent a rocket of a pass up into the final third. Leroux was patient and remained onside then fired off a shot on her first touch of the game and found the side of the net, the Blues went up 1-0.
Minutes later, Groom passed a ball up to A-Rod who broke away from the defenders. Taking the Boston goalkeeper 1v1, she took a shot that landed right in the keeper’s hands. The Blues tallied five shots on target in the first 45 minutes.
Boston created a few chances and challenged one of the most notorious backlines in the NWSL. In the 28th minute, Boston took a shot that had Nicole Barnhart diving. She pushed it away from the goal and out of bounds. New national tram standout, Rose Lavelle carried the ball from outside the box and took a shot but Barnhart easily caught it.
After the break, both teams came back as hungry as the first half. In the 48th minute, A-Rod carried the ball down the left flank towards the goal. She ran into some pressure so she sent it across the field to Groom. A-Rod then found some space, called for the ball back, took a shot and doubled the lead.
In the 55th minute, A-Rod went down with a left knee injury. She was taken out of the game and did not return for the rest of the match.
“She left the game, we don’t know what it is we’re just hoping it’s not as bad as the first impression was,” said Andonovski.
Boston had the closest chance in 79th minute when there were more Boston than Kansas City bodies in front of the box. What seemed like a frenzy of back and forth was finally resolved by Barnhart who nabbed the ball and protected it, keeping the score at 2-0.
The scoreline stayed at 2-0 until the final whistle. The Blues ended with seven shots, five being on target. The Breakers had 14 shots with five also on target. Both teams were aggressive near the goal with Kansas City having 5 shots from inside the box and Boston having 6 from inside.
The Blues hit the road for the next two games. The first against the Chicago Red Stars on April 22 and the next at Sky Blue FC on April 30. The next home game will be Sunday, May 7 against the Orlando Pride at 5:00 PM CT at Swope Soccer Village in Kansas City, MO. Tickets are available at fckansascity.com.
NWSL Match Report
Match: FC Kansas City vs Boston Breakers
Date: April 16, 2023
Venue: Swope Soccer Village
Kickoff: 5:00 p.m. CT
Goals 1 2 F
FC Kansas City (1-0-0) 1 1 2
Boston (0-1-0) 0 0 0
FCKC – Sydney Leroux (Becky Sauerbrunn) 7’
FCKC – Amy Rodriguez (Shea Groom) 48’
FC Kansas City: Nicole Barnhart; Christina Gibbons, Becky Sauerbrunn Ⓒ, Yael Averbuch, Brittany Taylor; Lo’aeu LaBonta, Katie Bowen, Alexa Newfield (Becca Moros 73’); Sydney Leroux (Maegan Kelly 78’), Amy Rodriguez (Brittany Ratcliffe 58’), Shea Groom
Substitutes Not Used: Cat Parkhill, Erika Tymrak, Caroline Flynn, Brianne Reed
Boston Breakers: Abby Smith; Margaret Purce, Megan Oyster, Christen Westphal, Allysha Chapman; Angela Salem, Amanda DaCosta (Ifeoma Onumonu 63’), Rosie White (Morgan Andrews 81’), Rose Lavelle, Adriana Leon (Tiffany Weimer 71'); Natasha Dowie
Substitutes Not Used: Sammy Prudhomme, Brooke Elby, Julie King, Kylie Strom