It's a tight squeeze in the NWSL standings right now. Four points separate league leader Chicago Red Stars from the fifth-place Breakers. A loss here, a win there, and the rankings can shift dramatically.
The Breakers play eighth-place Western New York Flash on Sunday at home, looking for the points that will bring them within one of the Red Stars. They're no doubt still smarting from their first loss at home last weekend against the Seattle Reign, who took that game 3-2 with a late goal.
They're also looking for a little payback against the Flash after losing to them 3-1 in their first meeting of the season.
"The Flash are a good, young team, and we are looking to avenge a lackluster performance away early on in the season. If we can shore up some poor moments from the last weekend's match and convert out chances, we should come a way the winner," said coach Tom Durkin.
The Breakers have one of the best defenses in the league at the moment, but in the event of a defensive breakdown, they're still slightly anemic on the attack. Stephanie McCaffrey and Kristie Mewis are responsible for half of the Breakers' 10 goals this season, with the rest coming from Maddy Evans, Nkem Ezurike, Julie King, and Morgan Marlborough. Ezurike has one assist, McCaffrey has two assists, and Katie Schoepfer has two assists.
On the one hand it's nice to see attack spread out over many names, but on the other, the numbers are definitely skewed towards two names in particular. McCaffrey and Mewis are responsible for 53.5% of the Breakers' total shots and 53.5% of shots on goal. Ezurike, Evans, and Marlborough must all step up their support and help move the ball well through the midfield and in front of the goal. Any one player finding their finishing touch could easily be the difference maker.
The Breakers have called up midfielder and UConn alum Riley Houle as an amateur to fill in the roster on Sunday. The starting XI will likely feature Evans or Pires starting, but if Durkin is looking to shake up his roster, as he sometimes does, Houle could come on as a like-for-like sub.
Meanwhile, the Flash will be relying on the junior Mewis, Samantha, who leads the Flash in shots and goals. Mewis is joined by Lynn Williams, who actually outpaces Mewis with shots on goal, and former Breakers draftee Jamia Fields. Any one of them could pick out a well-placed goal and must be accounted for at all times.
Mewis vs. Mewis Part 2, The Mewis Boogaloo, kicks off at 5 PM ET and will stream live on NWSL's youtube channel.