Jen Buczkowski ends her soccer career with FC Kansas City after a 0-0 draw against the Chicago Red Stars.
Saying goodbye is never an easy thing to do. However when FCKC were informed by Jen Buczkowski that she would be playing her final match on Friday that is exactly what they would have to do. There would be hugs, flowers, and 2,217 well wishers to see the final match of the NWSL’s version of the iron woman Buczkowski who has started all 76 games in her four seasons in the league winning back to back titles with FCKC the last two seasons.
If the Blues are able to defend their title again this year perhaps we will point to this game as the one that got the season turned around. Fridays opponent Chicago Red Stars came to town earning all nine potential points in their previous three matches and maybe looking for a little revenge after the Blues ousted the Red Stars from the playoffs last year in a 3-0 away win.
The Blues attack knew it would be a task finding the back of the net on this night as Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and the back line have not conceded a goal since their opening match against Houston. The Blues attack is still a work in progress as they look for a way to replace Amy Rodriguez. A-Rod as she is affectionately known is pregnant with her second child, as many of you will know. Shea Groom has been playing as the lone striker but is not the same back to goal target player that Rodriguez is.
There first few minutes of the match would see both sides have an opportunity to take an early lead but lack of quality and some well positioned defending would prevent that from happening. In a first half that would see FCKC have most of the possession and control the midfield the most exciting opportunity would come at the 17 minute mark when Buczkowski would volley a ball from the top of the box towards the upper right corner but Naeher was equal to the challenge keeping the Blues off the scoreboard.
The Blues would start the second half with Heather O’Reilly on the bench in favor of Erika Tymrak. As the second half started it would be Yael Averbuch making some well-timed plays to keep the defense steady and the match level at 0-0.
FCKC would continue to attack the Red Stars goal as Shea Groom would send a shot just inches over the crossbar and a few minutes later after a nice give and go it was Frances Silva’s turn to be denied. While a couple of Red Stars players raised their hands looking for an offsides call Silva would fire a shot from inside the box that would beat the keeper but not the woodwork.
Shea Groom would also have another diving header that was reminiscent of her previous diving header goal except this one was saved. The last best opportunity for FCKC would come off the boot of Katie Bowen whom had entered the game just minutes earlier but was denied by Naeher’s kick save.
So when the final whistle blew a 0-0 draw was not the result that FCKC were looking for on the final night of Jen Buczkowski’s playing career. However it is a point earned and a positive result going forward and that is what the Blues needed. As I said before goodbyes are never easy but if you happen to see Jen Buczkowski around say hello, tell her thanks, and know that she is probably doing what she has done better than anyone else in the NWSL. Showing up for work.
Kansas City: Groom, Laddish, Buczkowski, Silva, O’Reilly, Scott, Arlitt, Sauerbrunn, Taylor, Averbuch, Barnhart
Chicago: Naeher, Gilliland, Mautz, Naughton, Short, DiBernardo, Da Costa, Johnson, Huerta, Press, Colaprico
46′ Out O’Reilly In Tymrak
83′ Out Laddish In Bowen
90′ Out Silva In Mc Carty
70′ Out Da Costa In Comeau
88′ Out Colaprico In Hoy