The Reporting KC staff got together ahead of the start of the NWSL season to discuss FC Kansas City.
Today is the day! The FC Kansas City season opener will begin their journey for a third straight NWSL championship today at 7:30 PM at Children’s Mercy Park.
In honor of the season opener, the staff at Reporting KC had a talk about what this season will bring for the team. (You can read part one here.)
Which of the new players have the most potential to do well with FC Kansas City?
Chad Smith – “I’m most excited about the defense. With Brittany Taylor, Amanda Frisbie and Katie Bowen looking to be very likely to line-up with Becky Sauerbrunn, the team could still be very good. All the players next to Sauerbrunn will be new to the squad. Bowen looked to not be coming to the NWSL then suddenly FCKC drafted her in the second round. That seems like a steal.
Taylor is my best guess as a center back partner for Becky and she tends to make everyone around her look better. It doesn’t matter who the USWNT stick next to Sauerbrunn, they never seem to let any goals in. She is the only winner of the NWSL Defense Player of the Year award in the leagues history.”
Betsy Klee – “I definitely have to agree with Chad on this one. I’m really excited about the potential of our defensive line this year. They have big shoes to fill because we had a great back line last season but I’m excited to see them grow. Brittany Taylor and Alex Arlitt have both impressed me with performances during the preseason and I think with Becky in the back line as a leader their skills will only continue to grow.”
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What players who were on the roster last year have stepped up and shown what they’re made of this preseason?
Eric Atcheson – “Losing Holiday is a huge blow, of course–the team was built around her until now, but it’s pretty obviously Erika Tymrak’s attack to orchestrate now, and I have great faith in her after watching her develop from a rookie in 2013 to a fully-formed playmaker now. I hope and expect for her to be a joy to watch play this year as she makes this team more her own.”
Betsy Klee – “I think Frances Silva has done great things this preseason. She’s so much fun to watch on the field and I hope she gets a lot of starts this year. I think she’s good about seeing plays that others wouldn’t potentially see and making runs that other players wouldn’t potentially make.”
Can FCKC get their 3rd consecutive NWSL title?
Eric Atcheson – “If I’m being 100% honest, I doubt it. With the losses of Holiday, Brown, and LePelbeit to retirement and A-Rod and Sydney to pregnancy, this is a definite rebuilding year for the Blues. The early returns in preseason have been promising, though, so don’t count them out of the playoff picture by any means. But a three-peat is a tall order.”
Chad Smith – “In 2015 I didn’t feel like FC Kansas City was going to be able to pull off the back-to-back title. They didn’t look good for long stretches of the season and it took a late push to make the playoffs. Once they got there, their veterans took over and got the job done. A lot of those players are gone. I don’t think you can count FCKC out, but it will be a tougher road. One benefit will be that less of the team will be going to Rio for the Olympics, though with a month off for the Olympics there may very well be no games that overlap those games.”
Betsy Klee – “I definitely think it will be a tough road, but you never know. We lost a lot of talent after last season, but we also gained a lot of talent. Once we get into the groove of things and our team has learned how to mesh I think we have a good team. We’ll see how long it takes before that happens. It’s doable but will be tough.”
That’s it for our 2016 FCKC round table. If you aren’t already planning on going to Children’s Mercy Park tonight for the game, look into getting tickets and supporting the 2 time NWSL champions! Hope to see you there!