Breakers open 2015 NWSL season Saturday night in Portland

(April 10, 2015) – The Boston Breakers are set to embark on their 10th season in franchise history, opening their 2015 National Women’s Soccer League campaign Saturday night in Portland, Ore. against Portland Thorns FC.

The Breakers finished the 2014 season strong, with two wins in their last three games, which included shutouts over the Houston Dash and Portland. The Breakers ended the season in eighth place in the nine-team NWSL table with a 6-16-2 season. Portland finished the season in third place with a 10-8-6 record.

With a roster that features 11 returnees, including 2014 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year Alyssa Naeher, the Breakers also added nine new players for the 2015 season, including defender and 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup winner Kassey Kallman, former Boston College forward Stephanie McCaffrey, who finished her career fifth all-time in goals scored (32) at BC, and Brazilian internationals Bia, Ketlen, Rafinha, and Suzane Pires.

Ketlen played all four games during the preseason for Boston (Photo By Mike Gridley)

“I think, overall, we’re more balanced than we were last year,” Boston Breakers head coach Tom Durkin said. “We have some really good, young talent. As long as we’re able to keep a level head, I think the team is going to be really competitive.”

The Breakers and Portland take the field at Providence Park Saturday at 10 p.m. ET. The Breakers lead the series against Portland, winning four of the six matches between the two clubs.

“I like playing against Portland. We’ve done well against them,” Durkin said. “The atmosphere is tremendous, and the treatment is first class. It’s the best place to play in the league, by far. Last time up there, we lost, 6-3, but we had the lead three times. I imagine the game is going to be open again. It’s always a challenge and a chess match to see what coach (Paul) Riley is going to come up with. But for some reason, we’ve matched up well.”

The Breakers are coming off a preseason in which they went 4-0 and outscored their opponents, 17-1. Two of those victories came over the Jamaican Women’s National Team in Florida. They also tallied wins over both Boston College and the University of Connecticut.

During preseason, Kristie Mewis led the team with three goals, followed by McCaffrey, Pires, Cat Whitehill, Maddy Evans, and Bianca Brinson, who all scored two goals each. Midfielder and 2015 NWSL College Draft pick Stephanie Verdoia led the Breakers in the assist category this preseason with three. Keeper Jami Kranich played in all four matches and registered three shutouts.

Kristie Mewis returns for her second season in Boston (Photo By Mike Gridley)

The Breakers look to return to Boston with three points in hand heading into their 2015 home opener – April 26 vs. the Houston Dash at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium in Allston, Mass.

“We’re going to go out there and put our best foot forward,” Durkin said. “It’s the first of 20 games. It’s more about the process than the actual result. It’s a good test. We haven’t played against this caliber of an opponent, and they haven’t either, so it will be interesting to see.”

GAME NOTES: https://app.box.com/s/o64d5yp49dorfbo6vrayza0sjuy483yr.

WATCH LIVE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rXqnzA58-A

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