Last week, the Washington Spirit made yet another major trade, moving Megan Oyster, two first round draft picks, and the #2 spot in the NWSL Distribution Ranking Order to the Boston Breakers. In return, the Spirit received winger Kristie Mewis, defender Kassey Kallman, and the #1 DRO spot. While it’s impossible to say what the DRO mechanism will provide, we wanted to find out more about the newest members of the Spirit. As such, we asked Stephanie Yang, who covers the Breakers for The Bent Musket, about what Washington fans should expect:
Kassey Kallman and Kristie Mewis have both been solid figures for the Boston Breakers for a few years now.
Kallman came to Boston as part of a two-for-one deal before the 2015 season. Boston sent Heather O'Reilly to FC Kansas City and got Kallman and Morgan Marlborough in return. Kallman was the #5 overall pick in her draft class and did well at FCKC, before becoming the anchor of the Boston defense in 2015. She was a bright spot in a dull, awful 2015 season, immediately earning a captain's armband and being voted the Breakers Players' Player of the Year.
2016 had its ups and downs for Kallman. She started out pretty strong and was capable of great stats. Against Sky Blue FC on May 15, she had a 93% pass completion rate, making 86 out of 92 passes. 54 of those were foward passes, and she completed 49 of them. She also had 10 defensive recoveries. Clearly Kallman is capable of shielding the goal while also distributing the ball into the midfield. But as the season wore on she did have some bad games. Perhaps it was the release on the pressure valve as fellow center back Whitney Engen joined the team in 2016; Kallman didn't have nearly as much pressure on her as she did in 2015 to hold down the line.
But Kallman does have the ability to be a great center back as well as a good leader. She can bring strength to a back line and if she forms a good connection with any deep-lying midfielders will also interchange and push up from time to time, giving coaches some flexibility there. She can also be shifted out wide if necessary, a function she adjusted to for FC Kansas City, but her natural position is central.
Kristie Mewis came to Boston ahead of the 2014 season in a series of trades, first from FC Kansas City to the Seattle Reign, then from the Reign to Boston in exchange for Syndey Leroux. She's spent a couple of offseasons overseas in Australia, Japan, and Germany, and of course has spent some time with the US Women's National Team.
Mewis is a solid left midfielder with the range to score well out of the 18. The problems come when she's played out of position; asking her to play more inside or to function closer to a 10 role isn't going to cut it with her. If she can find another player she clicks with in the offense, she can be helpful in overloading one side of the field and is definitely able to work the ball quickly for fluid passing movement. Under the right coach, with the right attacking system, Mewis could be a good player for value.
Spirit fans lamenting the loss of Megan Oyster should definitely be sad to see a defender of her caliber go, but if Gabarra can integrate Kallman and Mewis and get them working at the top of their actual abilities, they may not have lost out on much in this trade.