For the first time this season, the Orlando Pride come to Jordan Field to play the Breakers.
This rematch with Orlando takes on additional meaning if you recall that it looked like Boston might actually grab their first away victory in two years against Orlando when they played on July 10, only to see it cruelly taken away in the last minute of regulation.
It’s an interesting time for Boston. They could be on the cusp of an actual change after not only scoring multiple goals for the first time this season in their last game against Sky Blue FC, but scoring two games in a row. Can they score three games in a row? They’ve been as close as it’s possible to be to getting a result for a couple of weeks now.
On top of that, there’s been a shakeup in the offensive line with the departure of forward Stephanie McCaffrey for Chicago, and the addition of English forward Natasha Towie and French midfielder Ghoutia Karchouni. They probably won’t be available for 90 minutes, especially not Dowie who just arrived in Boston this week.
But Beard has indicated they should be available, which may call for a shifting on the field with Louise Schillgard and Eunice Beckmann. Beckmann might start, with Dowie available for the last 20 or 30 minutes as a like-for-like sub, with Karchouni pushing Schillgard a bit wider than usual, although Schillgard has certainly shown she’s very capable of combination play out wide.
Another adjustment to make is in the defense with the retirement of left back (and sometimes left midfielder) Mollie Pathman. That probably means the starting spot now goes to Brooke Elby. The Breakers have also once again called up amateur player Kylie Strom, who saw time against Sky Blue in their last game as a sub working in the back line when the team shifted into more of a 3-5-2.
The Pride are without players Alex Morgan, Ashlyn Harris, Josee Belanger, Laura Alleway, and Stephanie Catley. Midfielder Leah Fortune also just announced her retirement. Orlando has called up four amateur players to help deal with the losses to their roster. They’re also still smarting from a 5-2 defeat at the hands of the Seattle Reign last weekend, so there’s every reason for both teams to come into this game fired up.
Keys for Boston include controlling forward Jasmyne Spencer, a task which may fall to Elby, who will need to work tightly with Kassey Kallman to keep the right side of Orlando’s offense from sending in service. There’s also former Boston Breaker Maddy Evans in the midfield; she’s been pretty solid for Orlando at breaking up plays and setting up penetrating balls. If this is indeed Karchouni’s Boston debut, she could have a heck of a time getting over, around, or through the very physical Evans.
Boston vs Orlando kicks off at 6 PM ET at Jordan Field and will stream live on NWSL’s youtube channel.