Tied for first place and separated only by goal differential, both the Boston Breakers and New York Fury will look to gain three points to take sole possession of first place in WPSL Elite when they meet Wednesday night at Hofstra University in Long Island.
Although the teams will meet for the first-time ever, it’s certainly not the first time these players have faced each other. The Fury have 12 players with WPS experience, including seven from the Philadelphia Independence. The Fury is also coached by former Independence Head Coach Paul Riley.
"We are looking forward to the game vs the Fury," Boston Breakers Head Coach Lisa Cole said. "The teams we have faced to this point have presented us with different challenges. We faced a young, unknown team in the Charge, an international group in FC Indiana, but with the Fury we know them a little better as far as personnel, and we know it will be a good challenge for us so we need to be good. We are looking forward to the game."
The Breakers are fresh off Friday’s commanding 4-1 victory over FC Indiana. Australian international Kyah Simon scored the first two goals of her WPSL Elite career, while Katie Schoepfer added her second of the year, and Australian international midfielder Tameka Butt completed the scoring with her first-ever Elite goal. The Breakers beat FC Indiana without three starters, who were training in California with the U.S. U-23 squad - midfielders Amanda DaCosta and Bianca D’Agostino and defender Elli Reed. All three have since returned to the club and are available for Wednesday’s game.
The Fury features a number of former faces, including former Breakers Claire Zimmeck and Michelle Betos, as well as former Independence players Tina DiMartino, Sinead Farrelly, Kia McNeill, and Leigh Ann Robinson, and former Sky Blue FC’s Brittany Taylor and Allie Long. As far as scoring this season, the Fury is led by rookie Merritt Mathias, who has three goals in two games.
The Breakers bring arguably the league’s strongest defense to Wednesday’s game, featuring former U.S. Women’s National Team defender Cat Whitehill, who set up Schoepfer’s goal Friday with a rocket off the crossbar, third-year Breaker Taryn Hemmings, rookie Courtney Jones out of UNC, and Reed. The midfield is commanded by captain and Breakers veteran Leslie Osborne, who has one assist on the season. Up top, the trio of Simon, Schoepfer, and Butt have combined for five of Boston’s seven goals.
Following Wednesday night’s game, which is scheduled for a 7 p.m. ET start, the Breakers return home to face the Western New York Flash on Saturday, May 26, at 6 p.m. in front of a sold-out crowd at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville.
For the projected lineup, both teams’ rosters, and more, check out the Game Notes.