(May 29, 2015) – The Boston Breakers are one of only four teams in the NWSL unbeaten at home, and they’ll look to continue their perfect form at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium in Allston, Mass. Saturday at 7 p.m. against defending NWSL champions FC Kansas City.
The Breakers, who are 2-0-1 at home in 2015, haven’t lost in Boston in five straight, dating back to Aug. 10, 2014. Saturday, they welcome third-place FC Kansas City (3-3-1, 10 points) to town. The Breakers, currently in eighth place with a record of 2-3-1 (seven points), can move up to as high as fourth place with a win Saturday.
FC Kansas City is coming off a 2-1 loss at home to the first-place Chicago Red Stars. The Blues are currently mired in a two-game winless stretch, having played to a scoreless tie with Western New York one week prior to the loss against Chicago.
The Breakers, meanwhile, after starting the season at 1-3, are unbeaten in two straight, earning a 1-0 win at home over Portland Thorns FC on May 16, courtesy of a goal by Kristie Mewis in second-half stoppage time, followed by a 1-1, come-from-behind tie against Sky Blue FC last Friday. Stephanie McCaffrey scored the equalizer in the 60th minute to preserve the unbeaten streak. For McCaffrey, a rookie out of Boston College, it was her team-leading second goal of the 2015 season.
Stephanie McCaffrey leads the Breakers in scoring this season (Photo By Mike Gridley)
After conceding 12 goals in the first four matches combined, the Breakers have shored up their defense, allowing just one goal in their last two matches. The back line of captains Julie King and Kassey Kallman in the central defender spots, along with left back Mollie Pathman and right back Lauren Lazo have shut down several goal-scoring opportunities over the past two matches. And after falling short on her debut, a 3-0 loss at Chicago, keeper Jami Kranich has been nearly unbeatable since. She registered her first professional win and shutout in the victory May 16 against Portland, and she made a number of key saves in the tie last weekend against Sky Blue FC.
Jami Kranich is 1-1-1 in three games this season with Boston (Photo By Mike Gridley)
FC Kansas City poses several threats, and they begin up top and in the midfield with the likes of Liz Bogus (team-high two goals), rookie Shea Groom (one goal), and Erika Tymrak. The Blues will be without several national team players, including U.S. midfielders Heather O’Reilly and Lauren Holiday, forward Amy Rodriguez, and defender Becky Sauerbrunn.
“Despite losing their national team players, Kansas City remains in the top echelon. They’re quite good. They play a good brand of soccer,” Boston Breakers head coach Tom Durkin said. “I don’t think the degree of difficulty changes all that much, save the A-Rod factor, which to me has been always difficult to deal with. Other than that, we have to deal with the same considerations. Essentially, it boils down to shutting down Erika Tymrak, which we did two years ago here. I know her well because she’s an IMG (Academy) girl; she came up in our academy. We want to shut off the service to her. We want to force them to come out of their left side because they seem to be building their attacks out of the right side.”
The Breakers will be without goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and defender Bianca Sierra, who are with their respective World Cup squads (U.S. and Mexico), defender Lauren Lazo, who is graduating this weekend from Princeton University, and Brazilian midfielders Rafinha and Bia, who are currently in Brazil training with the national team until June 4.
“Our girls trained really well this week,” Durkin said. “It’s been our best soccer so far. So even though we’re down Lauren Lazo, Bia, and Rafa, I’m really happy with what the girls have put in, so I’m expecting a big game, and hopefully we get our legs under us and we’re firing on all cylinders Saturday at 7.”
This week, the Breakers called up amateur players Sam Lofton, a defender from James Madison University and one of Boston’s 2015 NWSL College Draft picks, and two-time America East Conference midfielder out of the University of Hartford, Chanel Johnson.
To purchase tickets to Saturday’s game vs. FC Kansas City, visit www.breakerstickets.com.