(May 23, 2014) - The Boston Breakers go in search of their second win in this season’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) when they host FC Kansas City this Sunday (kickoff 7 p.m. ET). Following three successive defeats, Boston heads into this clash at Harvard Stadium looking to improve on an early-season record of 1-5-0.
This is the third of five consecutive home games for the Breakers and will be followed shortly by the visits of the Portland Thorns (Wednesday, May 28) and Washington Spirit (Sunday, June 1). Tom Durkin’s team were beaten 3-1 and 4-1 in the previous two games, both of which were home dates with the Chicago Red Stars.
Heather O'Reilly eludes Chicago's Julie Johnston in last week's match (Photo By Mike Gridley)
Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher made 10 saves in the 4-1 loss last Sunday, and she leads the league with 32 saves in her six games this season. The Breakers defense is targeting a first shutout of the season and will come up against the NWSL’s leading scorer in Amy Rodriguez. The former Boston forward has seven goals in nine games and along with another one-time Breaker in Lauren Holiday, who has been relentless with shots on goal. Rodriguez tops the league with 21 shots on target while U.S. Women’s National Team counterpart Holiday, who has three goals, is second with 18.
Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart is expected to play despite a hip complaint, and along with Nikki Phillips, Jen Buczkowski, and Leigh Ann Robinson she has started all 10 of the Blues’ matches. The 2013 NWSL Rookie of the Year Erika Tymrak has scored three so far in 2014, and Jenna Richmond and Lauren Holiday are tied with three other players for the most assists in the league (three). Holiday was the NWSL’s leading scorer (12) and assist maker (nine) last year and head coach Vlatko Andanovski will be looking to her to help lead FCKC to an improvement on their 3-4-3 record.
Currently 4th with 12 points, Kansas City has doubts over defenders Kassey Kallman (left groin strain) and Amy LePeilbet (left knee soreness). The 2013 NWSL Defender of the Year Becky Sauerbrunn meanwhile is available and the Blues are going for their third shutout of the season. They will be encouraged by a 1-1 draw with league leaders Seattle Reign at home on Wednesday which ended the Reign’s seven-game winning streak.
The Breakers had their biggest home crowd of the season last time out, with 2,123 at Harvard Stadium to see the second game with Chicago. Midfielder Kristie Mewis is in contention to face her old team after making 20 starts for the Blues last year, scoring once. Defender Courtney Jones, a scorer in the Breakers’ 3-1 defeat to the Chicago Red Stars last Thursday, scored four in 22 games (six starts) last season for Kansas City.
Midfielders Heather O’Reilly and Lianne Sanderson lead the Breakers from an attacking perspective with two goals and an assist each to their name. The pair have played every minute of Boston’s season up to now, as have Naeher, Julie King and Cat Whitehill, while midfielder Joanna Lohman has started all six matches. O’Reilly notched a penalty in the last game and is probable for this one with a right ankle sprain. Forward Lisa De Vanna remains with the Australian national team as they prepare for their AFC Women’s Asian Cup final with Japan this weekend.
To purchase tickets to Sunday's Breakers vs. FC Kansas City match, as well as upcoming home games to Portland and Washington, visit www.breakerstickets.com. You can also follow the action live on YouTube. You can read Sunday's Game Notes here.
- By Chris Brookes