The Boston Breakers start winding down the season with an away game against FC Kansas City. They're officially out of playoff contention now, so this could be a chance for them to experiment a little bit with new lineups or formations. As for FCKC, they're teetering on the edge of making playoffs. Thad Bell from The Blue Testament answered some questions about their performance so far and what to expect from them in this game.
1. With the playoff race so tight in the middle, FCKC will have to stay on its toes to ensure a playoff spot. Is there a sense that the team isn't as sharp as it was last season? Can it all be attributed to the loss of internationals for the World Cup?
Are they as sharp as last year? No. It has a lot to do with the Nats being up with the US. The World Cup Champs, particularly Holiday and Rodriguez had to change their game to fit Jill Ellis's game plan. Holiday played more defensive/holding mid and [Amy Rodriguez] needed to disrupt play and try to get the ball to the other forward for the US. Last season Holiday and A-Rod were able to be on the same page and almost telepathically know where to pass and where to make the runs.
2. How has Heather O'Reilly's integration at FCKC gone over the season? Do you think she'll be crucial to them in this last push for points?
HAO will be crucial at this point, she is the only one that could be considered hot. I do not think she is fully integrated but she is playing a role that is familiar to the team and with three other current and a couple former national team players she is getting in sync.
3. Shea Groom has had a pretty good rookie season with FCKC, but other than her, who are some non-national team names Boston fans should keep an eye on and why?
Shea has had a good season and is coming off the broken foot and could be available for this game so watch out. Of course the question is players other than Shea. Most of the starters are either current nats (Holiday, Sauerbrunn, A-Rod, HAO), former nats (Averbuch, Barnhart, LePeilbet) or veterans (Robinson, Buczkowski, Hagan, Moros). Even 2014 rookie of the year Erika Tymrak is a veteran now and should be recognized by most fans now. Mandy Laddish has really started to shine as a holding mid this season.
One player that most will not know is Caroline Kastor. She filled in as an amateur during the World Cup and earned a spot. She is a quick forward that could see time if a late goal is needed or she can also be the pesky, annoying presence up top to preserve a lead.
Boston plays FCKC Saturday, August 22 at 8 PM ET. The game will be streamed live on NWSL's youtube channel.