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NWSL mid-week 18 preview: Blues look to go unbeaten at home

Boston Breakers (4-14-2) at FC Kansas City (11-6-5)
Durwood Stadium
Wednesday, 8 pm EDT
Series: Kansas City lead, 4-1-0 (2-0-0 in 2014)

FC Kansas City will be trying to conclude an undefeated home season (7-0-4) and if they win it will assure them at least one more home match, in the NWSL semifinals. Their form is a bit off though with a 1-2-2 mark since their seven-match winning stream came crashing down, 7-1 in Portland on July 13. The Breakers are back on the road after they played seven straight away from Harvard Stadium, then returned to lose a 4-3 heartbreaker to the Flash. Courtney Jones, acquired from Kansas City over the offseason, is out for the Breakers with a right ankle sprain.

What to watch for: Kristie Mewis, previously of FC Kansas City, is enjoying a strong finish to the season for the Breakers. The tweaked Kansas City shape means their outside backs have a bit more ground to cover and they’ll have to keep Mewis and Heather O’Reilly contained in this one. But if the Blues can build out of the back and keep possession as they are capable of doing so well it could be another long night for the Breakers.

Houston Dash (5-12-3) at Seattle Reign FC (15-1-5)
Memorial Stadium
Wednesday, 10 pm EDT
Series: Reign lead, 2-0-0

The Reign will make their first appearance at Memorial Stadium as champions having wrapped up the regular season title with away results last week. The Dash will be playing their first match since being officially eliminated from playoff contention. That means the teams will be playing for very different things. The Reign will be trying to get rested and ready for the playoffs while the Dash will have an opportunity to tinker as they get ready for off-season roster decisions. The Dash will also be looking for their first win over any of the teams currently sitting in the top five positions.

What to watch for: The Dash may do well to experiment with the idea of sitting back, allowing the Reign to come to them, and then countering through Kaylyn Kyle and especially Becky Edwards. Kealia Ohai has been making some electrifying runs of late and she could be a big factor especially if the Reign opt to go with something less than their regular starting back line again.

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