clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Match Preview: Breakers vs. Dash

It's the last game of a rough season - go out there and have fun, Boston.

In Boston's last game of 2015, they sit at the bottom of the table. Even if they win, it is mathematically impossible for them not to finish last.

What, then, is on the line on Sunday night?

Pride, perhaps. These are, after all, pro athletes. First or last, everyone is playing to win the next game.

Closure, maybe. A way to seal a terrible season with a win at least, ending a lackluster chapter in Breakers history.

Fun - that could be interesting. With absolutely nothing left to lose and nothing to gain, perhaps the Breakers will play like no one is watching. For the sheer, unadulterated pleasure of playing soccer. Win or lose, that would be a good 90 minutes.

Meanwhile, the Houston Dash are in seventh and are also out of playoff contention. The top four teams are set and everyone else can just go kick dirt. Neither can the Dash at least gain an advantage in picking first in next year's draft since a Boston win still leaves them in last place. There's just final regular season ranking to consider.

So here we have two teams, both alike in dignity, in fair Houston where we lay our scene.

Carli Lloyd is sure to be on the prowl, which will make this twice in one week Katie Schoefper is asked to tangle with a world-class midfielder. She had her moments against Kim Little on Wednesday; now she must stymie Lloyd, who is sure to be hungry for goals after getting held scoreless by the Reign in the Dash's last game.

The Dash will also have Kealia Ohai running at Boston's back line. Coach Durkin's positioning of Julie King will probably tell whether he's looking to play or just hold on - King got forward an impressive amount against Seattle while switched out to the right wing, with Rachel Wood doing her best to hold the center with Kassey Kallman.

Honestly, if King's legs are still strong after so many away games in a row, Durkin should consider it. Let the team press high. Sure, it might keep Alyssa Naeher busy in net, but it'll be interesting and fun.

He might also consider letting Kristie Mewis and Maddy Evans continue to work on combining together. Mewis found Evans for their lone goal against Seattle; why not explore that connection a little more, allowing Evans to sit higher than usual? She's been the team's utility player all season long, diligently working hard at whatever position Durkin has asked her to fill. Now let Evans fill her position punchcard at forward, employing that work ethic to harry the Dash back line.

It's tempting to ask for Kyah Simon to play high in tandem with Evans, but this season Simon has always ended up dropping deeper into the midfield in an attempt to play provider. Without her there, midfield attacking falls mainly to Mewis and Rafinha - and the latter hasn't exactly clicked with the team due to a combination of early unfitness, national team absence, and injury. So Simon will probably float up a few times, but mostly stay in the midfield with Mewis.

Should Stephanie McCaffrey be fit to play, a McCaffrey/Mewis/Simon midfield providing for Maddy Evans could be quite fun to watch.

Really, fun is the watchword on the night. After all the moaning and negativity and handwringing that marked this season, for one game, just have fun.

Boston Breakers vs. Houston Dash kicks off at 8;30 PM ET on Sunday, August 30. It will stream live on NWSL's youtube channel.