FC Kansas City

FiveThirtyEight.com likes FC Kansas City’s chances of making the playoffs this year

FC Kansas City players lifted their first championship trophy in 2014.
FC Kansas City players lifted their first championship trophy in 2014. The Associated Press

FC Kansas City will begin its drive for a third straight National Women’s Soccer League title on Saturday.

The two-time defending champion Blues will play host to Western New York at 7:30 p.m. at Children’s Mercy Park.

And it should be the first step on the road to the playoffs. FiveThirtyEight.com liked FC Kansas City’s chances to compete for another championship.

In the web site’s NWSL preview, Allison McCann and Jay Boice gave the Blues a 72 percent chance of making the playoffs, with a 44 percent chance to make the final and a 25 percent shot of winning the title.

Only Seattle ranked ahead of FCKC in all three categories.

“The back-to-back champions might feel slighted by their second-place ranking, but personnel changes mean this team is going to look a little different this year,” McCann and Boice wrote. “Two national team attackers won’t be around — Lauren Holiday retired, and Amy Rodriguez is pregnant. Sydney Leroux … will also miss most of the season due to pregnancy.”

The Blues still have U.S. national team players Becky Sauerbrunn and Heather O’Reilly.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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