Boston Breakers at Seattle Reign
7/2/2013, 10:00 P.M.
Starfire Stadium, Tukwila, WA
The Breakers rerouted their ship on Sunday, earning a hard-fought 3-2 victory over top-ranked Sky Blue FC. Storylines centered around Sydney Leroux’s return to form - which resulted in a pair of first-half goals - and the emergence of newly-signed defender Jazmyne Avant, who deftly worked up the right side to earn a crucial assist. Continued chemistry among the back will serve as a pivotal pursuit for a Breakers team (4-5-3, 15 Pts.) that finds itself seven points out of playoff contention.
Last Five: T-L-L-L-W
On July 26, Seattle Reign earned its first victory of the season, a 2-1 come-from-behind win over the Breakers. Hope Solo’s squad stayed warm, repeating their performance in a 3-1 victory over Chicago on Saturday. Now moving up the table and into 7th place, Seattle (2-6-2, 8 Pts.) have seemingly found their stride, using three consecutive results to enter the NWSL playoff picture.
Last Five: L-L-T-W-W
What to Watch For:
By all accounts, Seattle has become a significant NWSL threat, using the consistent presence of goalkeeper Hope Solo and midfielder Megan Rapinoe to earn seven points in their past three matches. At home for the first time in her Seattle tenure, Rapinoe scored as a second-half substitute, solidifying the victory with an extra-time finish. Rapinoe, combined with midfielders Jessica Fishlock and Kaylyn Kyle, have helped rework a once goal-starved Seattle attack, contributing four goals in the team’s previous two matches. Expect Seattle to place ample pressure on Boston’s back four, a move that has paid dividends for Breakers’ opponents this season.
The Breakers, who also found their scoring touch over the weekend, made progress in two major areas of concern: finishing and defensive chemistry. Sydney Leroux’s double-dip on Sunday marked the end of Boston's finishing drought, while Jazmyne Avant’s presence on the backline bolstered an inconsistent defensive unit. The Breakers have yet to stretch their recent success over multiple matches, though Sunday’s sudden improvements bode well for Leroux’s side.
On Wednesday, both teams will play eager to extend their respective winning streaks, entering the back end of the season with the playoffs still within reach. If the Breakers back line can show well once again, and if Heather O’Reilly’s midfield can continue to provide consistent service, look for the Breakers to edge out Seattle on the road.