Breakers at Sky Blue F.C.
5/3/2014, 7:00 PM
Yurack Field, Piscataway, NJ
The Breakers righted the ship on Sunday, earning a desperate win over Sky Blue in front of a supportive home crowd. Goals from Lianne Sanderson and Julie King guided the club to a 3-2 victory, while a new-look 5-4-1 formation enabled the team to possess the ball with purpose. The Breakers will look for a repeat performance on the road, where they will face Sky Blue once again.
Last three: L-L-W
After earning a pair of draws to open the 2014 season, Sky Blue visited Boston with their first victory in sight. Instead, the club struggled to slow a hungry Breakers attack, surrendering a pair of second-half goals. On Wednesday, the Blues turned in a second poor performance, falling to the Seattle Reign, 2-0. An 87th minute penalty miss by Canadian sensation Sophie Schmidt capped a disappointing performance, launching Sky Blue into a 0-2-2 hole.
Last Four: D-D-L-L
What to Watch For:
When the Breakers square off with Sky Blue on Saturday, the team will hope for more of the same: space in the attacking third, productive set pieces and control of the match's rhythm. If Durkin's back four can slow down creative attacker Katy Freels, as they did for much of last week's matchup, the Breakers will likely dictate Saturday's tempo. The players who will line that back four, however, remain unknown. Courtney Jones appears destined to return to her natural attacking position, while the role of midfielder Ashley Grove and defender Chelsea Stewart remains in flux. Durkin will likely mirror a successful week three roster, though stay tuned: the first-year skipper has yet to field the same team twice.
For Sky Blue, week four represents an early-season crossroads: if the Blues fail to earn three points at home, they will remain the only winless club in women's soccer--for the second week in a row. Head Coach Jim Gabarra will look to find added space for Freels, who has contributed just six shots in four matches. Freels and the rest of her talented attack will need a rebound performance to outshine Boston's red-hot front line, a unit that scored five goals in Boston's previous two outings.
On Saturday, expect Sky Blue to push hard against Boston's back line, entering the rivals into a week four slugfest. If the Blues fail to contain Sanderson--who collected two goals and one assist last week--they will need an inspired offensive performance to earn a much-needed result.