By MC Barrett
The Boston Breakers will look to end a two-game skid and make their case for a spot in the playoffs when they take on the Washington Spirit Saturday (7 p.m. ET) at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland.
This will be the fourth and final meeting between the two teams, and the Breakers enter Saturday’s match holding a 1-0-2 advantage in the season series. While the first two contests were deadlocked, ending in 1-1 draws, Boston finally broke through on May 25 with a 3-0 victory over Washington at Dilboy Stadium. Led by an explosive three-assist effort from Lianne Sanderson, the Breakers received goals from Heather O’Reilly, Katie Schoepfer, and Kyah Simon. They were equally impressive defensively, holding the Spirit without a single shot on goal. Saturday’s match will feature a fresh face on Washington’s sidelines in the form of Mark Parsons, who replaced Mike Jorden as the Spirit’s head coach on July 1. Parsons spent the first half of the season coaching the Spirit’s reserves.
Julie King challenges Diana Matheson in a 1-1 draw May 11 at Washington
Both teams enter this weekend’s contest looking to get back into the win column. The Spirit (1-11-4, 7 points) are in last place and have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. Washington is looking to end a four-game losing streak, most recently dropping a 1-0 decision to the Chicago Red Stars despite a seven-save effort from goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. Offensively, the Spirit are led by Canadian Women’s National Team midfielder Diana Matheson, currently tied for second in the league in scoring with six goals.
Boston (5-7-5, 20 points) comes into Saturday’s match in sixth place, fighting for the fourth and final spot in the NWSL playoffs. With only five games remaining in the regular season, the Breakers are currently seven points behind the Western New York Flash and trail fifth-place Chicago by two points. A win this Saturday is crucial in keeping the Breakers’ playoff hopes alive and would end a two-game losing streak. After a late 2-1 loss at home to the Portland Thorns on July 21, the Breakers dropped a 3-0 decision at FC Kansas City on Wednesday night. Goalkeeper Ashley Phillips made her second consecutive start and recorded four saves, while defender Carmelina Moscato made her Breakers debut in the loss. Moscato, a member of the Canadian Women’s National Team, was traded to the Breakers from the Chicago Red Stars on June 30, in exchange for fellow Canadian Adriana Leon.
Following Saturday’s match, the Breakers will return to Dilboy Stadium for their final three home games of the 2013 NWSL season. They open up the homestand Aug. 3 against the Western New York Flash before facing Portland Aug. 7 and FC Kansas City Aug. 10. The Breakers then travel to Rochester, N.Y. on Aug. 17, where they will close out the regular season on Fox Soccer in a nationally televised game against the Flash.
Tickets are still available for each of the final three home games. Go to www.breakerstickets.com to purchase them. There is also a Final Three Package, where fans can purchase three tickets for $38 and get into all three remaining home games.