(June 18, 2014) – In the last home game for the Boston Breakers until August, National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) leaders the Seattle Reign come to Harvard Stadium this Thursday (kickoff 7 p.m. ET). The match gives Boston the chance of revenge on Seattle after the 3-0 away loss back on the opening weekend of the season.
Following this game, the Breakers (3-8-0) embark on a mammoth run of seven consecutive away fixtures and will not return to base until the home date with the Western New York Flash on Sunday, August 3 (kickoff 6.30 p.m ET).
Both teams have players away on international duty but Seattle’s list of stellar names set to be absent is considerable. Goalkeeper Hope Solo (U.S.A), ex-Boston defender Stephanie Cox (U.S.A.), midfielders Kim Little (Scotland) and Jessica Fishlock (Wales), and former Breakers forward Sydney Leroux (U.S.A.) have featured heavily this season but are all with their respective national teams for this one.
Additionally, another ex-Breaker, defender Carmelina Moscato, has been called up to the Canada squad for their friendly with Germany in Vancouver (Wednesday, June 18) despite being sidelined for the Reign thus far in 2014. U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Megan Rapinoe was a scorer in Seattle’s win over the Breakers on April 13th but she has been out with a foot injury since.
Laura Harvey’s team have taken the league by storm so far, winning nine and drawing two of their eleven games to top the table as the only remaining unbeaten side. Midfielder Little leads the NWSL for goals with 11 from her 11 games (two assists), including a double against the Breakers. Leroux top-scored for Boston in 2013, netting 11 goals, but she will be missing for this one, as will her U.S. teammate Solo, who has four shutouts for the Reign this season.
Of the remaining Seattle party, defenders Lauren Barnes, Kendall Fletcher and one-time Breaker Elli Reed, midfielder Keelin Winters, and forward Beverly Goebel have started every game. Goebel, on loan from INAC Kobe Leonessa, has one goal and leads the league with assists (four), while Japanese forward and her ex-INAC teammate Nahomi Kawasumi has scored three and come up with two assists.
There are former Breakers players all over the Reign roster and team captain Winters, defender Kiersten Dallstream and midfielder Mariah Nogueira are three more to add to the list.
Boston Head Coach Tom Durkin has been in confident mood in the build-up to this game. The Breakers’ 2-0 win last time out at home to Washington Spirit included late-first-half goals from Katie Schoepfer and Courtney Jones. Forward Schoepfer’s strike was her first of the season while Jones hit the mark for the second time in this campaign, having also scored against the Chicago Red Stars at Harvard.
Particularly encouraging was a first shutout for goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, and alongside defenders Julie King and Cat Whitehill she is the only Breakers player to have played all 990 minutes of the season. Whitehill is one of three players to have captained the side in competitive action this year, alongside Heather O’Reilly and Lianne Sanderson, and she will continue with the armband for the Seattle match. O’Reilly is with Jill Ellis’ U.S. squad as they prepare for the second of their friendly double-header with France this Thursday, as is fellow midfielder Kristie Mewis. Sanderson meanwhile continues to feature for England again under Mark Sampson and she will be hoping to play in this week’s World Cup qualifier in Ukraine, having made a substitute appearance against Belarus at the weekend.
To come out and support the Breakers this Thursday in our last home game until August, purchase your tickets from www.breakerstickets.com or call 617-945-1704. You can also follow the action on YouTube. The first of our seven away fixtures in succession begins with our second trip of the season to Piscataway, N.J. to take on Sky Blue FC on Sunday, June 22 (kickoff 1 p.m. ET).
By Chris Brookes