The Breakers lost 3-0 to the Chicago Red Stars Saturday night at Toyota Park, their second loss in a row since last weekend's 3-1 loss to the WNY Flash.
Once again the Breakers came out with pressure, putting several shots on goal. Kristie Mewis had her share of looks and Julie King was able to make some deep runs up the right. Boston managed to go into halftime 0-0 but by then the pressure had faded and the Red Stars were reasserting themselves.
Chicago came out in the second half and scored three unanswered goals by rookie players, including a brace by Sofia Huerta. Huerta's first goal came in the 56' when she got behind the back line, giving Rachel Wood the slip and going one-on-one with Jami Kranich. Huerta touched the ball around Kranich and scored on an open net. Her second goal was in the 82', streaking in on the far post to slam in a ball served from the left. Chicago rookie Cara Walls also scored in the 70', managing to turn Rachel Wood with a superb first touch, then running at goal and roofing the ball.
Coach Durkin's game plan to position two defensive midfielders in front of his back four did not manage to plug the leaks in the back line. Perhaps when Bia returns to match fitness the team could see a more stalwart presence in midfield to help soak up pressure. In the meantime, Katie Schoepfer and Amy Barczuk still haven't found their rhythm yet. Playing Schoepfer deeper also hampers Boston's ability to get forward through the right, relying more on whoever is in the right fullback position to take on some additional responsibility in the attack. That leaves Kristie Mewis on the left to try to either provide service or work through the center with Rafinha.
Rafinha herself went the full 90 instead of being subbed as Durkin has been wont to do so far this season, citing her need to adjust to the rigorous physical requirements of NWSL play. Her connectivity dried up as time went on, though, asking subs Suzane Pires and Stephanie Verdoia to step up in the midfield.
Boston fought hard in the game's dying minutes and Jami Kranich had some good stops, but it was another game in which it was easier to discuss the things that went right rather than all the myriad things that went wrong. In all fairness, it was the Breakers' second away game in a row, but it isn't the last time the team will be asked to go two in a row away from home. Durkin himself said that the team needs to learn to "hunker down on the road and protect a lead."
The Breakers still have plenty of games to take advantage of during the World Cup break but it's clear the team needs a shakeup of some sort. Whether that comes through improving existing players or perhaps finding a spark through filling the empty roster spot after Ketlin Wiggers' waiver, it needs to happen soon.
The Breakers are now at home three games in a row, first playing the Portland Thorns on May 16 at Soldiers Field Stadium.
BOS: Jami Kranich, Mollie Pathman, Kassey Kallman (C), Rachel Wood, Julie King (C), Amy Barczuk, Katie Schoepfer (C), Rafinha, Kristie Mewis (Suzane Pires 75'), Morgan Marlborough (Nkem Ezurike 66'), Stephanie McCaffrey (Stephanie Verdoia 79')
Subs not used: Paige Burnett, Maddy Evans
CHI: Michele Dalton, Arin Gilliland, Samantha Johnson, Abby Erceg, Taryn Hemmings (Michelle Wenino 84'), Danielle Colaprico, Rachel Quon, Vanessa DiBernardo, Alyssa Mautz (Cara Walls 66'), Sofia Huerta, Jen Hoy (Kelley McCloskey 87')
Subs not used: Monica Gonyo, Michelle Lomnicki, Jackie Esterkamp, Rachel Tejada, Lillie Toaspern