Breakers head to Midwest for clash with first-place Chicago

- By Meg Kelly

(July 17, 2015) - The Boston Breakers will hit the road and look to stop a three-game slide as they take on the Chicago Red Stars Saturday at 8 p.m. ET at the Village of Lisle-Benedictine University Stadium in Lisle, Ill.

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The Breakers hold a 3-6-2 record and sit in eighth place in the NWSL table with 11 points. Boston most recently fell at home to FC Kansas City in a 3-2 decision on July 9. Morgan Marlborough and Kristie Mewis both netted equalizers, but FC Kansas City broke a 2-2 tie at the 79-minute mark as reigning NWSL Rookie of the Week Shea Groom notched the game-winner.

Morgan Marlborough has three goals on the season for the Breakers, marking a career-high

Chicago handed Boston a 3-0 loss in their previous matchup in Chicago. Sofia Huerta was involved on all three goals, scoring two while assisting on one. The game, held May 9 at Toyota Park, marked the professional debut of Breakers goalkeeper Jami Kranich, who saw 17 shots come her way, nine on target. She made six saves.

The Red Stars sent a league-high eight players to the World Cup, including a quartet of U.S. members in Shannon Boxx, Lori Chalupny, Julie Johnston, and Christen Press. The Red Stars currently sit atop the NWSL table with a 6-1-3 record and 21 points.

"Chicago has proven that they're a great team," Boston Breakers defender and captain Julie King said. "It's definitely going to be a fight for us and a challenge playing on the road as well, but the fact is we need three points. I think we've got a good game plan ahead of us."

After jumping out to a league-best 2-0-1 start, the Red Stars remained in first place during the World Cup and have outscored opponents, 13-7, over the past seven matches.

Huerta leads the attack for Chicago with six goals, good for third overall in the league and tops amongst NWSL rookies. Huerta went on a tear in May, scoring five goals in as many matches en route to earning NWSL Player of the Month honors for her performance. She also raked in two consecutive NWSL Player of the Week honors in May, becoming the first player in history to earn the honor consecutively.

Kristie Mewis takes a shot on goal in Boston's previous meeting with Chicago 

Press, a fellow NWSL Player of the Month (April), netted four goals in two matches before heading off with the U.S Women’s National Team. Vanessa DiBernardo has racked up the points as well. She leads the league with five assists to go along with two goals.

Though Chicago has a high-powered offense, they also have the best defense in the league, leading the league in fewest goals allowed (11) and shutouts (four). Keeper Michelle Dalton is 4-1-2 with three shutouts, and Karina LeBlanc, who was off with Canada at the World Cup, started the season at 2-0-1 with one shutout.

The Breakers are led by Kristie Mewis, who has a career-high four goals on the season. Morgan Marlborough ranks second on the team with three goals, also a career best. Stephanie McCaffrey has two goals and two assists, which puts her fourth in the league amongst rookies in scoring.

Boston will welcome back Kyah Simon as she makes her return after competing for Australia in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. Simon, who recently signed for the Breakers, scored three goals at the World Cup, including two in a 2-0 win over Nigeria in the group stage. This is Simon’s second stint with the Breakers. In two seasons with Boston (2012 and 2013), Simon scored 15 goals and tallied five assists.

Goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher will also be back in a Boston uniform after helping the U.S. win their third World Cup title, defeating Japan in the final by a score of 5-2.

The Breakers also see the return of Brazilian midfielder Rafinha, who made her World Cup debut this summer. She played in two matches in Canada (vs. Costa Rica and South Korea).

Following Saturday’s match in Chicago, the Breakers return home July 22 to take on Chicago and then hit the road to face Sky Blue FC on July 25.

To purchase tickets to Boston Breakers home games, call 617-945-1704 or visit www.breakerstickets.com. Tickets for the final three home games (July 22 vs. Chicago; Aug. 1 vs. Seattle Reign FC; and Aug. 8 vs. Washington) are nearly sold out, so order them now while they last.

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