The Breakers lost 3-1 to the WNY Flash on Saturday night in Rochester.
The Breakers opened the scoring through Morgan Marlborough off a Stephanie McCaffrey assist in the 15'. McCaffrey continues to be dangerous in her rookie season, but found herself mostly contained. McCaffrey, Nkem Ezurike, and Morgan Marlborough played in an interchangeable, shifting three-front that should have caused problems running at the Flash back line, but eventually petered out in the first half.
Durkin expected Kristie Mewis, Amy Barczuk, and Katie Schoepfer to handle the midfield in the first half. Most of the attack flowed through Mewis, as to be expected when playing two more defensively-minded midfielders and one attacking mid. Rachel Wood, usually paired as a center back, occasionally deployed as an attacker, got pushed to the right wing to fill in for the injured Maddy Evans. Once again more attack went through the left flank, with Mollie Pathman making some runs to send service into the box.
In the second half the team shifted to more of a 4-4-2, with Barczuk sitting deeper behind Rafinha. It worked for a little while, generating some attack, but once again eventually petered out. The closing minutes of the second half found the team hoofing the ball up to McCaffrey and hoping—not the worst strategy when the midfield has fallen silent and the clock is counting down, but ultimately ineffective.
The Flash scored three unanswered goals: the first a looping header from Sam Mewis off great service from Becky Edwards; the second a clean finish into the corner from Becky Edwards; and the third a near post finish from Sydney Leroux that started with an interception and found Leroux wide open on the left while Rachel Wood was caught farther up the field.
This game marks the first time Durkin has chosen to use his three primary strikers at the same time, letting them mix and match across the top of the formation. It did yield some positive combination play and McCaffrey made dangerous runs well into the full 90, but the midfield needs more support to avoid having everything flow through Kristie Mewis on the left. Rafinha and Verdoia were both substitutions that should have pushed the attacking quotient, but both eventually went quiet.
Special mention goes to Julie King for her goal-line clearance in the 81'. Alyssa Naeher came off her line and just managed to get her hand on the ball to interrupt a charging Lynn Williams; King did her job and smartly covered for Naeher in the open goal, putting the cap on a hard shift.
The Breakers next play the Chicago Red Stars away May 9 at 5 PM ET, then return home on the 16th to play the Portland Thorns.
Boston: Alyssa Naeher, Mollie Pathman, Kassey Kallman (C), Julie King (C), Rachel Wood, Amy Barczuk (Suzane Pires 75’), Katie Schoepfer (C) (Stephanie Verdoia 55’), Kristie Mewis, Nkem Ezurike (Rafinha 46’), Morgan Marlborough, Stephanie McCaffrey
WNY: Sabrina D’Angelo, Kristen Edmonds, Brittany Taylor (C), Whitney Engen, Jaelene Hinkle; Abby Dahlkemper, Becky Edwards, Samantha Mewis; Jasmyne Spencer (Jamia Fields 74’), Sydney Leroux (Ajara Njoya 91’), Kristen Hamilton (Lynn Williams 59’)