FC Kansas City will try to get back to their winning ways when they visit the Boston Breakers today. The Blues will be looking for a positive result after a rain soaked 2-1 loss to the Red Stars at home in their last match. This is the first match of a three game road trip that will see the Blues head to Portland and Seattle after the World Cup break.
The match is at 6:00 PM CT and the stream can be watched here.
The Breakers are looking to extend their undefeated streak after drawing Sky Blue and beating Portland in their last two matches.
FC Kansas City head coach Vlatko Andonovski broke down the what he expects from Boston. "They are a young team, very energetic, disciplined and organized. Tom Durkin is an organized coach, he knows what he wants from his teams."
"They have players with different styles," Andonovski continued. "They have Morgan Marlborough who is a post-up forward that can hold the ball and they have (Stephanie) McCaffrey with unbelievable pace that can break back lines. These are some of the things we need to take care of if we want to get a positive result."
Blues defender Rebecca Moros echoed her coach's thoughts. "Boston is a pretty young team with some new faces."
"We've watched some film and the coaches have watched more film so they have a pretty though out game plan for them. I think it is like every team, we have to play our game and adjust a tiny bit to what they do well but I think we have a good game plan going into it," Moros added.
Boston has three players that have been with the Blues, two of them were with Kansas City when they won the championship in 2014 so they are very aware of how Andonovski and his Blues approach games.
Kristie Mewis was FC Kansas City's first ever draft pick (3rd overall) and was a National Team camp regular when she was with the Blues in 2013. Mewis was traded twice for National Team forwards. FC Kansas City traded her to Seattle for Amy Rodriguez and Seattle later moved her to Boston in exchange for Sydney Leroux.
Kassey Kallman and Morgan Marlborough were both high picks in the 2014 draft for FC Kansas City and were with the Blues through the championship. Kallman became the regular outside back while Marlborough saw limited time up top.
"All three of them are great players and I am glad they are doing well," Andonovski stated. "Mewis scored a nice goal to win the game against Portland in the last second. Kassey is taking on a little different role with Boston than she did here. She is taking more of a leadership role and I am glad to see that she has grown into a very good player. I am very excited for Morgan to be getting more minutes in Boston than when she was in Kansas City. All three of them are doing great and I could not be more happy for them."
Needing to tighten up set piece defense
After a little struggle the first couple game of the season, the Blues locked down the defense and went with four straight shutouts until the last match. Chicago was not able to generate a lot of good chances in the run of play, probably the result of equal amounts of rain and good defense by FC Kansas City. The Red Stars did score twice from set pieces.
"The weather did not have anything to do with it," Andonovski explained. "There was a little lack of focus inside of the box. Like I said after the game I am not too worried about. Of course I wanted a positive result and anytime you do not get a good result you do worry but I am not too worried because in the flow of the game, in the flow of the play, we did not allow too many opportunities. So we are still doing a good job, we are still organized, we are still disciplined and we are still determined."
Moros would not take the easy answer of the weather affecting the goals given up either. "I wouldn't blame it on the rain, it was a little bit flukey goals, especially the first one. It just dropped in a weird place so it was a late reaction and we were a little bit disorganized so we worked this week to try and organize it and make people's roles really clear. So hopefully that won't happen again."
"Sometimes we change strategies for different teams and different teams have different strengths so sometimes it just takes getting used those new roles but it is pretty clear who's roles are what," Moros said.
Andonovski added, "A little thing that makes a big difference that we need to take care of is marking in the box on restarts. We have to be more focused, we have to be a little more aggressive and we have to have a little better instincts."
Short roster again
Most NWSL teams are a little short on their rosters with the World Cup just around the corner. The Blues are missing the four national team players and have called up two amateur players. Midfielder Frances Silva is out with an ankle sprain as well.