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Breakers vs. F.C. Kansas City 2014: NWSL Match Preview

On Sunday, fresh off a pair of disappointing home losses, the Breakers will look to slow down midfielder Lauren Holiday and a deep FC Kansas City attack.

The Breakers will look to quiet the creative play of midfielder Lauren Holiday (12) on Sunday
The Breakers will look to quiet the creative play of midfielder Lauren Holiday (12) on Sunday
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
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After dropping their third consecutive match on Sunday, the Breakers find themselves on the bottom of the NWSL table. Something will have to give in Boston, as the club appears unable to compete with the elite clubs in women's soccer. Head Coach Tom Durkin has fielded a variety of formations, ranging from an unconventional 3-5-1 to a defensive 5-4-1, though no tactic has proven sustainable. On Sunday, when the team battles fourth-place FC Kansas City, it will need to hold tight defensively to fend off one of the league's most prolific attacks.

Last Five: L-W-L-L-L

The Blues have experienced an up-and-down season to date, though a pair of mid-May matchups with Seattle would have done little for any club's confidence. In the middle of those two matches, the team drew with Houston, completing a three-game winless streak. Kansas City will need to return to its early-season form to keep pace, as they lead the league in matches played (10) but sit just two points in front of the Flash and Spirit.

Last Five: L-W-L-D-D

What to Watch For:

In Boston, fans will once again keep an eye on Tom Durkin's back line, as the Breakers have conceded a league-high 16 goals in just six matches. The team's best defensive stand, a 1-0 loss to Sky Blue F.C., featured a five-defender formation. With four midfielders and a striker in front of Cat Whitehill's back line, the team took 12 shots, a season high. So, what formation will Durkin select on Sunday? With little depth to make personnel moves, he will likely field a familiar squad of players, looking to somehow awaken a porous defense--and jump-start a quiet attack.

For FC Kansas City, a club teeming with quality finishers, the attack serves as anything but a concern. U.S. International Amy Rodriguez leads the league with seven goals, while midfielder Lauren Holiday, who won MVP honors in 2013, has contributed three goals and three assists. Holiday also leads the league in shots on goal with 21; Rodriguez trails with 18. This level of productivity serves as a concern for Boston's weak back line, despite FCKC playing more matches than any other NWSL club. If Holiday can find room to create behind Rodriguez, as she has for most of the 2014 season, the Blues will look to exploit Whitehill and co. in the attacking third.

Expect Kansas City's attackers to threaten from start to finish, forcing Durkin to make a pivotal decision regarding his defensive starters. It just may be time for an unorthodox move in Boston.

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