The Boston Breakers will look to rectify their only blemish this season when the team travels to the Maryland Soccerplex to face the Washington Spirit. The two clubs faced off during week 1 with Tiffany McCarty and Sydney Leroux exchanging goals to end the game in a draw. Since then both teams have made serious efforts to reinvent themselves.
After relying on a stoppage time goal against the Spirit, the Breakers have worked hard to control possession and put forth a team-wide effort. The club showed little progress in their second game as the Breakers were forced to wait until the 83rd minute to secure victory over the Western New York Flash. The third game brought the Breakers their desired style of play with the team scoring early before collecting a 4-1 victory over the Chicago Red Stars.
Lianne Sanderson explained the new initiative by saying, “We don’t really enjoy coming from behind in games. It’s a great mentality to have but at the same time we want to get ahead and stay ahead. Offensively, as games have gone on we have kind of gelled.”
With the attack in sync, the Breakers have now scored seven total goals which ties them with the Portland Thorns for league leader. Leroux has been a big part of the offense’s success as she currently tops the NWSL with four goals scored and recently recorded a hat-trick against the Red Stars. Leroux is supported by a fine cast of attack-minded players, including Heather O’Reilly, Mariah Nogueira and Kyah Simon.
Earning points against the Breakers will be difficult since the Spirit has allowed goals in each of their games while scoring no more than one. After tying their first two games, the Spirit lost the next two by a score line of 2-1. Despite the numbers being against them, head coach Michael Jorden remains optimistic.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Jorden said, “We’re getting a little better each week. We have proven we can play with everybody. We just have to get it done and we’ve got to finish and create more chances.”
If Saturday is going to produce the team’s first victory, the Spirit will need strong performances from Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris and the rest of the defense. Considering the offensive weapons that the Breakers can deploy, the Spirit will want the game to remain scoreless for as long as possible. Remaining composed defensively will frustrate the Breakers while building confidence for the home team.
If the defense can remain strong, there is a good possibility that the Spirit can capitalize on a vulnerable Breakers’ defense. The Breakers have yet to earn a shutout this season and players like McCarty and Stephanie Ochs will hope to keep that trend going. Although two have been penalties, Diana Matheson currently leads the team with three goals. Composure is important for the Spirit as a single goal could prove to be enough to earn the win.
After settling for a tie in their first meeting, both the Breakers and the Spirit will hope to gain victory as the two teams meet frequently in the first part of the season. Gaining three points on Saturday would provide the winner with a psychological advantage heading into their third exchange of the season on May 25th.