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The Tea(L): Does KC NWSL have issues in the attack?

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This new KC NWSL-focused column aims to give readers details on what’s happening with the club beyond what’s on the press releases. This week, the KC NWSL offense needs improvement if it’s going to be competitive in 2021.

Utah Royals FC v Chicago Red Stars

Ever since I made my move from RSL Soapbox, where I had recurring column, The Royal Watch, focusing on Utah Royals FC, to The Blue Testament, I’ve been wanting to continue writing a column on KC NWSL. I sort of did get started with “What we’re watching...,” but it just didn’t have a name.

I think we may have one, though: The Tea(L). The name recognizes KC NWSL’s primary color and how much gets shared over tea or coffee, but for this column, I like tea better. And that’s the goal of this column, to give you details on what’s happening with the club beyond what’s on the press releases.

With that introduction done, let’s talk about the preseason.

It’s week 8 of preseason. The full preseason roster is mostly together, except for a couple of rostered players who are currently missing preseason. Diana Matheson suffered an injury while on international duty with Canada, and Australian midfielder Chloe Logarzo is out of market still. The club hopes she can arrive in April, hopefully in time for the Challenge Cup.

Speaking of the Challenge Cup, which begins April 9, KC NWSL has some work to do as it prepares for the tournament and the upcoming 2021 season. From their 2-0 victory against the Kansas Jayhawks, head coach Huw Williams spoke on the troubles the attack is having. The forwards are struggling to finish and create chances for one another. They’re not clinical, and the attack needs to be addressed. The midfield is also a work in progress as it works on disconnection problems.

“We’re not where we need to be,” Williams told the media last Friday via Zoom, honest in his assessment of the attack.

But Williams did praise the defense, crediting it as the team’s strongest point. The defense has yet to concede a goal in its preseason scrimmages, including a clean sheet against the NWSL’s Orlando Pride. It’s still preseason, but from the last scrimmage versus KU, Williams went with the backline of Katie Bowen, Kate Del Fava, who impressed in her rookie season last year with Utah, Rachel Corsie, and Kristen Edmonds. Besides Del Fava, that’s a very experienced backline.

Huw’s assessment of the attack is very identical to the offensive troubles the Utah team had for three seasons. Though KC has made changes to the roster from the team they inherited (adding Larroquete, Jenkins...), the front core is mainly from Utah (Rodriguez, Ratcliffe). I’m curious to see how Williams fixes the midfield and attack issues that have been plaguing this squad since its Utah days.

Though I like that KC has tried to build their own team from the base they inherited from Utah, I think KC NWSL needs to be bold and go after signing/trading for another attacker, perhaps one of US Women’s National Team status or a major international player. As to who that could be, well, that can be left up for discussion, speculation, and a wish on a water fountain.