FC Kansas City getting consistency, veteran leadership from Buczkowski

08/09/2013 6:49 PM

08/09/2013 6:49 PM

Jen Buczkowski is 180 minutes shy of completing another professional soccer season without missing a single minute of action — a fact that surprises ... well, no one. A defensive midfielder for FC Kansas City, Buczkowski and teammate Leigh Ann Robinson are two of only five players in the National Women’s Soccer League to play every minute of their team’s games.

That represents more of the same from Buczkowski, 28, who two years ago won the Iron Woman Award after accomplishing the same feat for the Philadelphia Union.

Her steady, reliable play offers a veteran presence to a mostly-young FC Kansas City squad. In the past four years, Buczkowski has played for four different teams equating to four different styles of play.

Of them all, she says, this FC Kansas City team stands out. And for a player who won a championship in 2009, that carries some weight.

“I think we’ve developed that consistency you need,” Buczkowski said. “I think we’re really excited and really confident with how we’re playing. As long as we stay confident, we’ll do well.”

The confidence, of course, is a by-product of the 10-match unbeaten streak FC Kansas City will take into Boston for a 5 p.m. match Saturday.

The Blues have not lost since June 16 while building a four-point lead in the NWSL standings. Should they win one of their final two regular season matches, they can clinch homefield advantage throughout the four-team postseason. They close out the regular season at home against Chicago on Aug. 18.

FC Kansas City, Portland FC, Western New York and Sky Blue FC (New Jersey) have already clinched the four playoff spots. The playoffs begin semifinals matches on Aug. 24.

“I think getting (homefield advantage) would be huge because we’re a different team when we play at home,” Buczkowski said. “We have a great crowd here and great support, so that would be a huge help.”

More important than where the games are played, though, is how the team is performing heading into the postseason. Buczkowski learned that much while playing for New Jersey in the now-defunct Women's Professional Soccer. In 2009, the team grabbed the final playoff spot before winning the league championship.

“Once you get into the playoffs, any team can win," Buczkowski said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re seeded. You have to play good soccer. We want to use these (two) games to carry some momentum into the playoffs.”

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