The Boston Breakers played at Florida State in their second preseason game and lost 1-0 in the 80' to a goal by Ireland national team player Megan Connolly.
The team played three 30-minute periods, which allowed head coach Matt Beard to do two things: look at what might become his starting XI for a longer period of time, and then switch out most of those players to look at his bench for the last 30.
1st and 2nd periods: Libby Stout, Julie King, Whitney Engen, Kassey Kallman, Christen Westphal, Angela Salem, McCall Zerboni, Kristie Mewis, Louise Schillgard, Stephanie McCaffrey, Kyah Simon
3rd period: Jami Kranich, Brooke Elby, Rachel Wood, Kylie Strom, Mollie Pathman, Lauren Lazo, Stephanie Verdoia, Katie Schoepfer, Elise Krieghoff, Brittany Ratcliffe, Morgan Marlborough.
Libby Stout finally saw time between the sticks for Boston and that back line of King, Engen, Kallman, and Westphal looks like it's shaping up to be Beard's preference. In fact the starting XI remained unchanged from the Breakers' last preseason game against Northeastern, except with newly-arrived Australian international Kyah Simon playing up top instead of Katie Schoepfer.
That may change assuming Whitney Engen leaves for part of the summer on national duty during the Olympics, in which case Beard may either shift Julie King back inside to pair with Kassey Kallman as they did last season, or hey may look to a player like Rachel Wood to fill in centrally.
McCall Zerboni will almost certainly be relied upon to hold the midfield, probably with Angela Salem, assuming Sinead Farrelly is not 100% by the time the season starts. Farrelly has been absent during preseason matches so far, but would hopefully be ready in time to resume her working partnership with Zerboni from their time as Portland Thorns.
It also seems as though Beard will be looking to Mewis, Schillgard, and McCaffrey to coordinate their attacks with Simon as the tip of the spear. Simon will almost certainly be gone with Australia during the Olympics, which would leave space for someone like Marlborough or Schoepfer to step up.
"I was pleased with the performance. We did everything but score tonight," Boston Breakers head coach Matt Beard said via team press release. "I felt some of the things we worked on in training are starting to come off. We're still learning each other's triggers and understanding certain things, but we haven't had a lot of time to do stuff in the final third. It was a great workout for us because they were an organized side."
Should fans be worried that the Breakers lost to a college side? Not particularly, considering the college side was 2014 national champion Florida State. FSU also made it to the College Cup finals in 2015, and are known for their strong defense. Meanwhile, the Breakers are only weeks into preseason with massive roster turnover and a new coach adapting to a new league. The team is still putting together elements in every part of the field, so some lack of cohesion is to be expected.
The Breakers will next play Florida Elite Soccer Academy's U16/U17 boys' team on Wednesday, March 30.