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Breakers vs. Portland Thorns FC 2013: Match Preview

Down but not out in the 2013 NWSL Playoff hunt, the Breakers will welcome second place Portland for a crucial midweek matchup. A loss or tie will eliminate Boston from playoff contention; the Breakers must earn three points to stay alive.

With defender Cat Whitehill now at the helm, the Breakers must regroup and win out to stay alive in the NWSL playoff hunt
With defender Cat Whitehill now at the helm, the Breakers must regroup and win out to stay alive in the NWSL playoff hunt
Portland Thorns FC at Boston Breakers
8/10/13, 7:00 PM
Dilboy Stadium, Somerville, MA

Current Form:

After the surprise departure of head coach Lisa Cole, the Breakers regrouped and turned in an excellent first 45 minutes on Saturday. The second 45, however, sent the Breakers into desperation mode, as the team conceded two late goals to settle for a disappointing draw. If the Breakers (6-7-6, 24 Pts.) lose again, their playoff hopes will immediately end.

Last Five: D-L-L-W-D

On Sunday, with first place on the NWSL table at stake, Portland struggled to shut down red-hot midfielder Lauren Holiday, who scored twice in FCKC's 3-2 victory. The loss places Portland (10-5-4, 34 Pts.) in a second-place deadlock with Sky Blue FC (10-6-4, 34 Pts.). A midweek victory over the Breakers will put Alex Morgan's side back on track for the top spot on the NWSL table.

Last Five: D-W-D-W-L

What to Watch For:

In their second match without a tried-and-true head coach, the Breakers will need to turn in a series of complete performances, a difficulty that has plagued the team for the better part of 2013. The Breakers' attack - after struggling for much of July - performed well during Saturday's draw with Western New York, though Boston must hold tight defensively if they want to earn nine points in their final three matches. Cat Whitehill, facing pressure as the Breakers' interim head coach, captain, and defensive anchor, will need to guide Boston's ship with confidence if her team wants to stay alive in the NWSL playoff hunt.

After boasting one of soccer's stingiest defensive units through July, Portland's back line has softened in recent weeks, surrendering seven goals in their previous three matches. The Thorns have met this lapse with an attacking resurgence, however, scoring eight goals over the same span. Look for forward Alex Morgan and midfielder Meleana Shim to consistently press Boston's back line, looking to expose a Breakers team that will enter Wednesday's match in need of an early tally.

On Wednesday, expect Portland to rival Boston's recent attacking success, fighting hard for a victory over the desperate Breakers.

For tickets to Wednesday's match at Dilboy Stadium, visit