NWSL Week 16 Midweek Preview

USA TODAY Sports

In terms of play off standings, Boston must defeat FC Kansas City to move up into fifth place and get closer to the top four as the regular season is less than a month away from concluding.

FC Kansas City vs Boston Breakers

Match Date/Time: Wednesday July 24 2013 at 7:35 PM

Venue: Verizon Wireless Field, Overland Park, KS

Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel

It was a successful Week 15 for FC Kansas City to say the least. They continued their seven-game unbeaten streak, which they carry into Wednesday's match against Boston, their second meeting after a lengthy break from their first meeting on May 18 when FCKC beat the Breakers 2-0.

FC Kansas City are a challenging team to play because of their technical skill on the ball and their goal hungry players Lauren Holiday and Erika Tymrak. Following Saturday's 2-0 defeat over Seattle, Holiday is now tied with Sydney Leroux and Abby Wambach for league leader in goals. Holiday scored her tenth goal of the season and is nowhere near quitting. Wednesday's match would be the ideal time to play for league leader in a head to head game with Leroux.

Wednesday's match will be an interesting match up because the last time both of these clubs met was very one sided because Boston was still in its early stages of development. Their back line was a major downfall as the Boston team failed to record a single clean sheet but the offense did help record a four game unbeaten streak before their meeting to FCKC which ended that short lived streak.

This time around, FCKC will have to deal with the intense pressure that Leroux and Heather O'Reilly put on the defense early on and regularly works in their favor. Their speed is usually the Breakers strength moving out of the midfield and finding space inside the box but the FCKC defense and midfield are stacked with agile players that can snuff out danger without conceding fouls.

Vlatko Andonovski favors attacking the opposition early and this formula worked well against Seattle last week and will likely be used again on Wednesday especially if Holiday, Tymrak and Mellisa Henderson can spread the defense thin and take long range shots on goal, especially if Ashley Phillips is in net.

Injuries

FC Kansas City

Out: None Reported

Boston Breakers

Out: Bianca D'Agostino

Seattle Reign FC vs Chicago Red Stars

Match Date/Time: Thursday July 25 2013 at 7:00 PM PT

Venue: Moda Health Pitch at Starfire Stadium, Tukwilla, WA

Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel

Chicago has made great strides in the competition this season climbing out of the bottom place and into fifth place trailing WNYF by five points. If Chicago can score a win on the road it would help them immensely and keep Boston at bay from reclaiming the fifth spot regardless of their outcome against FC Kansas City.

Seattle on the other hand is trailing Chicago by seven points and might be out of the running for the playoffs. Their chance of making it to the top four remains uncertain depending on several factors and the performances of the teams currently residing in the playoff bracket but Seattle will continue demolishing their competition.

The Reign's six game unbeaten streak ended at the hands of FCKC last week but their determination to pull their team to a win never falters. Strong performances from Jessica McDonald and Megan Rapinoe will be an asset on Thursday against Chicago. Hope Solo's heroics between the posts is untouchable but Chicago is sneaky with Inka Grings usually lurking around the box unbeknown to the opposition. The German international will pop up on the end of a cross when it is too late for the defense to react and it is up to the keeper to deflect.

The German international has only scored once in 10 appearances for Chicago but her contribution to the team is more tactical. She is handy when it comes to defending and gaining possession, if Ella Masar has a chance to start she will be the second piece of the puzzle for the front line. Grings would be best to dispossess the opposition and connect with Masar or Lori Chalupny up front. Both players are fast and physically strong, another strong attacking option for the Red Stars would be Leslie Osborne.

The Red Stars weakness would be their defense and this is something that Rapinoe and Jessica Fishlock can take advantage of. Thursday's game will be exciting for fans of either club as they are both out to prove they are worth a spot in the play offs.

Injuries

Seattle Reign FC

Out: None Reported

Chicago Red Stars

Out: Taryn Hemmings, Shannon Boxx and Zakiya Bywaters

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