Sky Blue FC at Boston Breakers
6/30/2013, 6:30 P.M.
Dilboy Stadium, Somerville, MA
Now winless in their previous five matches, the Breakers will again enter Sunday's game with plans of re-writing their recent struggles. Lisa Cole's team finds itself at a critical juncture, now 11 matches into its inaugural NWSL season and fighting to get back into the win column. A bye week for the Chicago Red Stars (3-6-3, 12 Pts.) minimized the damage of Wednesday's 2-1 loss to Seattle Reign, leaving the Stars and Breakers even in the league table. The Breakers (3-5-3, 12 Pts.) will need to start finishing opportunities - and earning results - if they want to make a late-season playoff push.
Last Five: L-T-L-L-L
After beating the Breakers 3-2 on June 16, Sky Blue FC earned two points in back-to-back home draws, matching the team's longest winless streak of the season. The latter match, against FC Kansas City, ended with a pair of late-game goals by Sky Blue forward Monica Ocampo (85', 92'). Ocampo's crew has never played three matches without a win, and will look for the season sweep of the Breakers on Sunday. In order maintain their spot atop the NWSL table, and fend off a surging Portland Thorns side (8-2-2, 26 Pts.), Sky Blue (8-2-3, 27 Pts.) must earn a win at Dilboy stadium.
Last Five: W-L-W-T-T
What to Watch for:
After scoring eight goals in two June matches against the Breakers, Sky Blue will look for more of the same on Sunday. They'll have to do it without playmaker Lisa De Vanna, though, who is currently with the Australia Women's National Team for international duty. This time around, Canadian International Sophie Schmidt will join the attack, working to break through Boston's often-inconsistent back line.
The Breakers, who have yet to play back-to-back matches with the same defensive unit, recently added defender Jazmyne Avant who spent the first half of 2013 with Portland. Though Avant will do little to immediately address Boston's consistency issues, she will dress for Sunday's match, providing Cole with a new option for solidifying her team's patchy back four.
Expect Boston's east-coast counterpart to attack early and often, testing Cole's latest defensive pairing. If the back line rises to the challenge - and the Breakers talented frontrunners find their finishing touch - Boston could very well avenge their June 16 loss, denying Sky Blue a much-anticipated season sweep.
For tickets to Sunday's match at Dilboy Stadium, visit BreakersTickets.com