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Match Preview: Boston Breakers vs Portland Thorns

The Breakers seem to have better luck against the Thorns at home, but can the good juju last?

The Boston Breakers have been trading off results with the Thorns for three seasons now, with a 5-4-0 all time record, 18 GF, and 19 GA. They also tend to do best against Portland at home as well, winning all but one home game against them and losing all but one away game. Tomorrow, they'll see if they can keep the magic alive at home.

Boston is going into this game having already lost their first two of the season, one away, one at home. Their defense is okay, corralled into shape by Whitney Engen, but their offense is still spraying wide of the goal when they manage to take any shots at all. Midfield is working on it. Stephanie McCaffrey, Kristie Mewis, and Kyah Simon will all need to get shots on target and start working together much more fluidly, as opposed to last game's stilted isolation.

Meanwhile, Portland has started the season with a win against the Orlando Pride and a tie against FC Kansas City. Tobin Heath has been the architect behind much of Portland's attack, and will probably once again be everywhere on the field. It'll be up to former Thorns teammate McCall Zerboni to shut Heath down in the midfield and keep her from finding any of the Thorns forwards or Lindsey Horan.

If Zerboni and Angela Salem can contain both Heath and Allie Long in the middle, that'll make for an interesting battle on the wings, especially with Meghan Klingenberg fighting with Julie King. Klingenberg is known to push high all game long and will need to be watched to limit Thorns service from the left.

At the very least, Christine Sinclair continues to recover from a left achilles injury, so that's one less thing for the Breakers to worry about. Instead they'll need to keep a close eye on Nadia Nadim, who's been known to place a ball or two. Thorns defender Kat Williamson is also out with injury, sustained in their last game against FCKC.

Breakers injuries may come down to a game-time decision; Louise Schillgard is still recovering from rolling her ankle during warmups last weekend and is listed as probable, while Libby Stout is also probable with a right quad strain. Depending on the severity of the injury, fans may finally get to see rookie goalkeeper Abby Smith's debut. If Schillgard is out, count on another start for Brittany Ratcliffe, who could be making a case for herself as a starter. Ratcliffe has the potential for lots of high-energy wide play and if she and King can get coordinated, would help take the game out and away from Heath and Long while also creating more service for Simon, who knows where to be in the box but hasn't gotten the ball as much as she should.

The Breakers kick off at 5 PM ET at Jordan Field. The game will be streamed live on NWSL's youtube.