FC Kansas City vs Chicago Red Stars preview: Three points crucial for both sides

FC Kansas need three points to keep their season alive, the Chicago Red Stars need three points to clinch a spot in the playoffs.

FC Kansas City vs Chicago Red Stars preview: Three points crucial for both sides
Christina Gibbons (left), FC Kansas City, dribbles away from Sofia Huerta (right), Chicago Red Stars. l Source: FC Kansas City

This week’s Lifetime Game of the Week is a very decisive one for both team's, FC Kansas City and the Chicago Red Stars. The Blues are home in week 20 and need all three points to be eliminated from playoff contention. For the opposing side, the Red Stars can clinch their ticket to the playoffs with a win, thanks to the draw between the Orlando Pride and Seattle Reign on Thursday. Kickoff for the match is set for 3:50 p.m. at Children’s Mercy Victory Field, coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. on Lifetime.

FC Kansas City turning their season around

FC Kansas City is enjoying a successful stint, after having a rough first half of the season. The Blues started off the season by losing one of their long awaited returners, Amy Rodriguez to an ACL tear, but they have not let that slow them down.They have won four of their last five, including a win against this week's opponents, the Red Stars. Even with their impressive run, they sit in seventh place and need a win this week, any other result will put off their playoff hopes until next season.

Barnhart and Groom, the keys for FCKC

Nicole Barnhart, goalkeeper, and Shea Groom, forward, are going to key in the match on Saturday. Barnhart earned her 100th appearance last week, becoming the first goalkeeper and fifth NWSL player to accomplish such a feat. Barnhart made five saves against Sky Blue FC and let in one goal in week 19. Groom had a brace and one assist last week. That was Groom’s third match in a row with an assist.

Nagasato celebrating with her teammates after a game winning assist to Julie Ertz l Source: NWSL Soccer
Nagasato celebrating with her teammates after a game winning assist to Julie Ertz l Photo: Daniel Bartel/ isiphotos.com

Red Stars pull out another win against the Courage

The Red Stars had struggled the past few weeks but turned it around with a comeback win over the first place North Carolina Courage. The Chicago team ended their regular season play at Toyota Park with a win against the Courage, thanks to a game winner by Julie Ertz. The Courage only have six losses this season, half of them coming at the hands of the Chicago Red Stars. The recently healthy Yuki Nagasato was directly responsible for their win providing a goal to tie the game and the game winning assist to Ertz. Last week the Red Stars proved that it is not only Christen Press and Sofia Huerta, while they are always a threat, who can score goals. Press unselfishly provided the assist for Nagasato’s goal after Press was one on one with the goalkeeper.

Morgan Brian for Chicago

Making her first appearance for her Chicago team was Morgan Brian. Brian had joined the Red Stars just before their match against the Courage in a trade that sent the newly acquired, now former, Red Star Kristie Mewis to the Houston Dash. Brian had not played in weeks for Houston due to an injury but played the last 26 minutes for Chicago.