Boston Breakers at Washington Spirit
7/27/13, 7:00 P.M.
Maryland SoccerPlex, Boyd MD
Riding the high of a four-game unbeaten streak, the Breakers entered Sunday's match against Portland with a "must-win" mentality; a 2-1 come-from-behind loss quickly changed Boston's tune. On Wednesday, the Breakers turned in a second consecutive lackluster performance, sending Syndey Leroux's squad into desperation mode. A win on Saturday will serve as a top priority if the Breakers (5-7-5, 20 Pts.) want an outside shot at the postseason.
Last Five: D-W-D-L-L
For Washington, the inaugural 2013 season has become nothing short of a disaster, as the capital city side has found familiarity on the bottom of the NWSL table. The team's last and only win occurred on May 16, when the Spirit defeated host Seattle 4-2; since that time, Washington has collected just one point, a 1-1 draw with FC Kansas City. Now playing for pride, the Spirit (1-11-4, 7 Pts.) will need to quickly uncover a new-look attack if the team wants to earn any kind of recognition this season.
Last Five: D-L-L-L-L
What to Watch For:
After dropping two consecutive "must-win" matches, the Breakers will head to Washington in hopes of saving a season riddled with inconsistency. In order to return to positive form, Lisa Cole's team must put pressure on Washington's back line, pushing forwards Sydney Leroux and Lianne Sanderson deeper into the attacking third. In previous matches, Portland and Kansas City subdued Boston's attacking pair, forcing Leroux and Sanderson to continually play behind the ball. Sanderson has come into form as of late; Leroux must now follow.
Despite the Spirit's tried-and-true offensive struggles - the team has played into eight shutouts in 2013 - Saturday's storyline will focus on the state of Washington's back line. U.S. International defender Ali Krieger has missed a series of matches due to concussion-like symptoms, and Canadian defender Robyn Gayle has recently found the sideline with a strained right knee. Without a doubt, the Spirit will need to begin finding the net to turnaround a challenging 2013 campaign, though defensive health will serve as the team's top priority moving forward.
If Washington's makeshift back four fail to slow down a goal-hungry Boston attack, the Spirit will struggle to earn a result at home, enabling Boston to stay alive in the playoff hunt.
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