FC Kansas City vs Orlando Pride preview: A must win for both clubs

FC Kansas City and the Orlando Pride meet on Saturday evening in a crucial matchup that has both teams looking to gain three points.

FC Kansas City vs Orlando Pride preview: A must win for both clubs
FC Kansas City vs Orlando Pride meet for Week 13. FCKC leads series 2-0-1.

The Orlando Pride (4-5-4) welcome FC Kansas City (3-6-4) to Orlando City Stadium for Week 13 in a game to be played at 7:30 pm ET. The match can be seen via go90. As the NWSL begins its second half of the season, earning three points is crucial for both teams, especially after last week's disappointment.

FC Kansas City lost a tough one to Sky Blue FC as Sam Kerr scored a hat-trick in the last 12 minutes of regulation to give the New Jersey side a comeback victory. The Blues also lost forward Shea Groom to a red card. Groom will miss the trip to Orlando. FC Kansas City is on the road for its second-consecutive week.

The Orlando Pride found themselves earning only one point against the Washington Spirit after a late equalizer by Mallory Pugh. Marta scored two goals that nearly had Orlando leaving Washington with three full points. The game also marked the return of Alex Morgan as a starter after recovering from a hamstring injury.

Orlando and FC Kansas City will meet for the second time this season. The first matchup, on May 7 in Kansas City, ended in a 1-1 draw. Marta scored the first goal that had the Pride leading for much of the second half until a late goal by Erika Tymrak foiled Orlando's potential win.

Two months later, both clubs are looking to bounce back from last week to alter their 2017 seasons towards the postseason.

Orlando Pride: The Potential to Climb

The Pride currently sit at number six in the NWSL standings, four points away from 4th place. A win against FCKC would certainly help them if they want to climb the standings this second half.

They also have Marta who is an offensive threat any time she's on the field. The Brazilian international is in 3rd place with eight goals and three assists, just one goal behind leaders Megan Rapinoe (Seattle Reign FC) and Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC). 

Marta creates opportunities and scores any time she is on the field | Photo: Jenny Chuang - VAVEL USA
 

The return of Alex Morgan, who played 63 minutes against the Spirit last week, adds another flair to Orlando's offense. If Morgan and Marta can connect more up front, they'll have any defense on guard.

The Pride also begin an important home stretch with four out of five games at home where they are 2-2-1.

FC Kansas City: The Struggle is Real

The last time FC Kansas City won a game was in late May when they defeated the Washington Spirit 3-2, giving them their only away victory of the season. They are 1-5-1 on the road so far.

Ever since then, the Blues have lost four games and tied two. Their once top-rated defense has conceded 15 goals in the last seven games, which are the most allowed for an NWSL team during a seven-game stretch. FCKC have also lost key players to red cards in those games, including Groom, Alexa Newfield, and Lo'eau LaBonta.

Last week, it appeared as if the Blues would finally gain a victory on the road against Sky Blue. Two of their young players, Christina Gibbons and Katie Bowen, scored their first NWSL goals of the season, which gave FCKC the 2-0 lead in the first half until the hat-trick by Kerr deterred that hope. Kansas City became only the second team to lose after leading by two.

There is hope, however, that a victory at Orlando can still keep FCKC in line for a playoff spot. They are currently in 8th place and seven points away from the 4th place. At this point in the season, anything is possible. 

Also, Gibbons shifted to central midfield from defensive back last week, which gave life to the KC offense. The move could be just what the Blues need for the remaining 2017 NWSL season. 


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