Preview: Kansas City vs. Thorns FC

Jun 27, 2014 12:34 PM EST

(June 26, 2014) – Jen Buczkowski and FC Kansas City have the opportunity to consolidate their hold on second place when they welcome Portland Thorns FC to town on Saturday night.

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The midfielder scored the first goal of her NWSL career to lead FCKC to a 1-0 win over the Chicago Red Stars in Week 11 that saw the Blues solidify their hold on the No. 2 spot in the standings.

The 76th-minute goal came off an assist from fellow midfielder Merritt Mathias, who was broke down the right flank before sending the ball across the six-yard box along the ground to find Buczkowski all alone at the far post.

Buczkowski was one of three outfield players, including Western New York Flash defender Estelle Johnson and Sky Blue FC defender Coco Goodson, who did not miss a minute of the 2013 NWSL and the Elk Grove Village, Ill. native has played all but 28 minutes of the 2014 season.

Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart recorded her league-best sixth shutout with four saves in the win over Chicago.

FCKC currently hold a seven-point advantage over the Thorns, who come into the match level on points (20) with the third-place Red Stars.

Portland had the opportunity to close the gap during the midweek, but was dealt its fifth defeat of the 2014 campaign Wednesday in a 2-1 home loss to Sky Blue FC. The Thorns suffered just six losses during the 2013 season en route to the inaugural NWSL Championship.

Forward Christine Sinclair netted the lone goal of the game for Portland. After struggling through the first half of the season, the Canada international appears to be heating up with goals in the Thorns’ last two games.

Midfielder and Spain international Veronica Boquete picked up the assist on Sinclair’s tally and has registered a goal or an assist in three straight games.

The game Saturday is the second meeting between the two clubs this season. The Thorns recorded a 3-1 victory over FCKC in Week 3, with forward Jessica McDonald scoring twice and midfielder Allie Long adding a goal to lead Portland to the win in the first meeting.

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Photo courtesy of FC Kansas City and Portland Thorns FC