Sky Blue FC (9-3-3, 30pts) vs. Boston Breakers (5-5-4, 19pts)
Saturday, 7:00 pm ET
Yurcak Field/ Piscataway, NJ
Referee: Margaret Domka
Sky Blue FC: Kelley O’Hara (right ankle sprain), Monica Ocampo (right shoulder sprain)
Boston Breakers: Alyssa Naeher (broken nose), Bianca D’Agostino (ACL injury)
Closing out week 14 of the inaugural season, the Boston Breakers head to New Jersey to take on top of the table Sky Blue FC. Sky Blue will look to hold onto their current first place title, whereas Boston will look to climb in the rankings in order to increase the chances of securing a crucial playoff spot. Now is the point in the season where those three points are essential, especially for teams like Boston, as just a few points separate them from earning that final playoff position.
This will be the fourth time these two teams have met. The previous three games resulted in two victories for Sky Blue and one for Boston. Last time these teams met at Yurcak Field, Sky Blue claimed a 5-1 victory in which Lisa De Vanna scored a sensational bicycle kick goal.
The Breakers currently hold a three game unbeaten streak, one of which was a victory against Sky Blue FC. Their most recent win came at JELD-WEN Field against the second place Portland Thorns FC. Forward Sydney Leroux has scored ten goals thus far (she currently holds the record for most goals), three of which were game winning goals. With that being said, it’s quite evident that Boston will rely on Leroux on the attacking end. Yet, the Breakers will see a change in goal as Naeher was listed “out” due to a broken nose. Naeher recorded a shutout last game against Alex Morgan and the Thorns. The Thorns took a season high 20 shots, 7 on goal, and Naeher didn’t allow one to pass. Despite this change, the Breakers’ most recent victories have come against the first and second place teams and therefore they should have a high level of confidence heading into this match.
As for the reigning first place team, this game will see the return of quite a few players as well as a few players missing. Australian internationals Caitlin Foord and Lisa De Vanna have returned as well as Canadian midfielder Sophie Schmidt, who was suspended the previous game due to a red card she received in the last matchup between these two teams. The players who aren’t expected to play are Kelley O’Hara, who is suffering from an ankle sprain as well as Monica Ocampo who injured her shoulder. Despite the absence of two very strong players, Sky Blue is still in good shape. The team has a full roster, something they lacked last week. Plus, with Brittany Cameron in the net (she has 7 shutouts recorded for this season) and a backline led by Christie Rampone, it will be a challenge for Boston.
Prediction: 3-2 win in favor of Sky Blue with two goals from De Vanna and one from Adams (two from Leroux)