There came a moment late in the second half when Sky Blue FC decided to pull their starting keeper, Brittany Cameron, and sub in her backup Aubrey Bledsoe. Cameron wasn't injured; it was just that Sky Blue was up 3-0 with less than 10 minutes of regulation left and it seemed like a good time to get Bledsoe some experience. That is basically a summary of Boston's night as they ultimately went down 3-1 to Sky Blue.
There was virtually no attacking. Things picked up as Stephanie McCaffrey subbed in for Morgan Marlborough in the 52' but there were long stretches where Boston scrambled on the field, trying to get to the ball while Sky Blue built their own attack.
The midfield was not cohesive, with passing chains sputtering and dying by the time they got close to the attacking third. Kyah Simon and Kristie Mewis weren't able to connect with Marlborough or each other often enough to generate the chances required to score. Simon, Mewis, and Rafinha were sometimes on the same wavelength, but lack of movement and width kept passing lanes closed off.
The defense was unable to handle the combined powers of Kelley O'Hara, Nadia Nadim, and Sam Kerr. Coach Durkin moved usual center back Julie King out wide to help deal with both O'Hara and Kerr, but on both O'Hara goals, she shook King and found herself sitting pretty in front of goal without anyone around.
The third Sky Blue goal was a bad clearance from Mollie Pathman that fell right into Sam Kerr's lap. Kerr took the ball and fired one at point-blank range past Alyssa Naeher.
Boston's lone goal came in the 84' when Rafinha found Lauren Lazo at the top of the 18. Despite Sky Blue outnumbering Boston players in the box two to one, Lazo was able to sneak in and fire one over the head of Bledsoe for a very smooth finish.
Alyssa Naeher was her usual superlative self, despite the scoreline. The game could have very well ended up with six or seven for Sky Blue were it not for Naeher.
As for the rest of it, Boston looked exhausted by a schedule that had them play three games in seven days, two of those games on the road. Their midweek game against Chicago was rescheduled from earlier to accommodate national team players as they did post-World Cup publicity, leaving Sky Blue with almost a full week's rest behind them. Boston was always going to struggle to contain Kerr, O'Hara, and Nadim at the same time, but going into this game after one day of rest and one travel day did them no favors.
Boston now sits at the bottom of the table with 12 out of a possible 42 points and the worst goal differential in the league. By now fans have got to be asking questions about what has been going wrong to leave the team struggling so badly not just this season, but last season as well when they went out in eighth place. At one point this season Boston was sitting at third overall, so clearly they can put together wins, even if a lot of those points came while international players were away on World Cup duty. How do they do that consistently? What needs to change? Is it just that the players are in an ineffective system, or does the roster itself need an overhaul? Is management to blame?
Fans should continue to ask these questions throughout the end of the season. Boston has six games left and will make it into the playoffs if they win every game and the top teams all get hit by lightning. It's time to think about next year, and how to rebuild a crumbling foundation.