(June 21, 2014) – The Boston Breakers are on the road this weekend as they travel to Piscataway, N.J. to take on Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field (1 p.m. ET kickoff) in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). The game is the first of seven in succession away from home for the Breakers and presents a chance to leapfrog their opponents and move off the bottom of the table.
At present, Boston is in 9th place in the NWSL with a record of 3-9-0. Sky Blue (2-6-5) is two points ahead in 8th having played a game more, and Sunday’s match is the third meeting between the two teams this season.
Back on April 27th, the Breakers gained their first victory of the campaign as a Julie King goal and a double from Lianne Sanderson ensured a 3-2 win at Harvard Stadium. In the following encounter, Sky Blue took the glory with a 1-0 home success thanks to Mónica Ocampo’s first-half strike.
Coached by Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue have only won one more game since then, as Kelley O’Hara got the winner in a 1-0 away to Portland Thorns on May 24th. The New Jersey side welcomes Boston this weekend off the back of four winless games, but they will be buoyed by a second-half fightback from 2-0 down to snatch a point at the Chicago Red Stars last time out.
Defender Lindsi Cutshall and forward Maya Hayes registered their first professional goals against Chicago and both are available to face the Breakers. Defender Hayley Haagsma remains a long-term absentee however (left knee ACL tear), as does midfielder Taylor Lytle (left tibia fracture and lateral meniscus tear). Midfielder Ashley Nick, once a draft pick by the Breakers, is listed as a doubt (concussion).
Mexican forward Ocampo managed eight goals for Sky Blue in 2013 in just 901 minutes of play but both of her strikes this season have come against the Breakers. In the midfield, Katy Freels leads the team with four goals and two assists, while ex-Boston player O’Hara has two goals and two assists.
Danish international forward Nadia Nadim has joined on loan from Fortuna Hjørring to bolster the attack. At the back, defender CoCo Goodson is the only Sky Blue player to have started all 13 of their games.
With the opportunity to drag themselves away from last place, the Breakers are boosted by the return of their three international call-ups. Midfielder Heather O’Reilly made her 205th appearance for the U.S. Women’s National Team in the 2-2 draw with France on Thursday, overtaking Tiffeny Milbrett to become seventh in the all-time list for the U.S.
Kristie Mewis was also part of Jill Ellis’ squad for the double-header with the French, while Lianne Sanderson appeared twice for England in World Cup qualifying wins away to Belarus and Ukraine.
Last week saw a trade with Washington Spirit as Australian forward Lisa De Vanna departed the Breakers, with Mexican international Bianca Sierra heading in the opposite direction to Tom Durkin’s team. The defender recently featured against Boston for the Spirit, and the 21-year-old California-born player joins fellow Auburn University alum Julie King on the roster. The trade also saw the Breakers receive Washington’s third and fourth round picks in the 2015 NWSL College Draft.
You can keep track of this Sunday’s action from Yurcak Field via the live YouTube stream. The game gets underway at 1 p.m. ET.