We traded three questions with Stephanie Yang from the Bent Musket in preparation for the FC Kansas City vs Boston Breaker match today. You can see our responses to Stephanie's questions here.
1. With the Breakers out of the playoff race, what can FC Kansas City expect a team that is just playing out the season or one that is itching to play spoiler?
I think at this point, it's about playing not just for pride but for a roster spot next season. There may be fringe players who want to show their quality or rookies like Stephanie Verdoia who have been seeing a lot of time with the reserve squad who want to leave a mark on the coach's mind before the season is over. So this could be a good time to evaluate players who maybe haven't gotten a lot minutes this season, like Rachel Wood.
2. Having finished out of the playoffs for all three seasons, is there pressure on Coach Durkin? What are the fans wanting to see change?
I think there's definitely pressure from fans on Durkin. At the last home game I saw sign saying "Durkin Out." We're not necessarily seeing it from management or ownership. Attendance has been fairly decent despite another losing season so if winning or losing isn't necessarily impacting ticket sales at the moment, then impetus for change may not be coming from ownership just yet. I think Boston fans want to see noticeable and consistent improvement. So this may not take the form of wins but more ties, or fewer goals given up (which we actually did see for a while this season). I think they also want to see a deeper bench. The Breakers have got to improve on their drafts and trades.
3. The Breaker have three former FC Kansas City players. How are Mewis, Kallman and Marlborough doing? Can we expect them to start Saturday?
You can definitely expect Mewis and Kallman to start. Despite losing Heather O'Reilly in the trade, Kassey Kallman turned out to be crucial since she now anchors the back line. Also Kallman was able to play every game for the entire season, instead of having to interrupt things for the World Cup. Morgan Marlborough is a question - she hasn't quite proven to be a starter this season and I think Durkin regards her as a like-for-like sub, just fresh legs running up front.
Thanks to Stephanie for taking the time and we hope to continue this for the remaining NWSL matches.
FC Kansas City hosts Boston tonight at 7:00 CT at Swope Soccer Village.