The Breakers and the Flash are two teams who have gone into this season with almost completely rebuilt rosters. The Flash lost most of their players in the offseason to trades and took four first-round draft picks: Abby Dahlkemper, Samantha Mewis, Lynn Williams, and Jaelene Hinkle. All four ended up rostered for the Flash. The Flash also took Canadian goalkeeper Sabrina D'Angelo, who has shown well already in the Flash's two games to date despite the losing scorelines.
Both teams should still have their national team players: Syd Leroux and Whitney Engen for the Flash and Alyssa Naeher for the Breakers. Former Breaker Syd Leroux could look to take out her frustration at not scoring in her previous two games (including against her former club, the Seattle Reign) on the Breakers back line and Coach Durkin will definitely be looking for ways to nullify her speed and strength. Jasmyne Spencer and Lynn Williams may prove the bigger threats on the day, though, both having more shots and shots on goal than Leroux. Also not to be discounted is Jordan Angeli (another former Breaker) in the midfield, who against Seattle got in front of her defender in the box and touched a very nice ball from Sam Mewis into net.
Durkin flooded the midfield against Houston in order to manage Carli Lloyd and Morgan Brian, and against the Flash pressing in a 4-3-3, the Breakers may try to come out strong in the midfield again and choke off any attacks while simultaneously looking to Steph McCaffrey to create a little havoc with the Flash back line. Nkem Ezurike is another player who could start, creating some combination play through the mid and attacking third.
Though standing 5'11", Ezurike has not especially been used as a big target for the team to find from wide, instead playing a more intellectual game, holding off attacks with her strength and looking to turn and find teammates or face up in front of goal. If Mewis continues to have a strong season and with a little more development through the mid, either from developing Verdoia or bringing Rafinha up to NWSL speed, the Breakers could have a very nice set of attacking options this season.
The Flash defense was porous against Seattle, but held up better in Portland. Between Whitney Engen and Toni Pressley, the Flash will want to do some choking of their own to prevent McCaffrey from dancing into the box. Meanwhile, the Breakers defense will be without right back Maddy Evans, who is out with a left foot sprain. Cat Whitehill and Bia are also both still out on injury. This could mean Julie King getting pushed out wide again while Rachel Wood slots in at center back to pair with Kassey Kallman.
This match is also a culmination of the Mewis-on-Mewis trashtalk pinging back and forth on twitter, although the game probably won't find them going directly at loggerheads the entire time. Kristie Mewis has been doing well at left mid both in providing service and helping to create attacks on the ground while Sam Mewis will be pulling strings for the Flash more centrally.
The game kicks off at 7 PM ET in Rochester and will be streamed on NWSL's youtube channel.