After an exciting-yet-often-chaotic 2013 off-season, the Breakers will enter 2014 with several new faces - both on the field and on the sideline. So, how does the roster size up? And which players will serve as difference-makers this season? Our break down continues with Boston's revamped midfield.
2014 Projected Depth Chart: Midfielders
1. Heather O'Reilly
The USWNT legend may represent the surest bet on Tom Durkin's roster. O'Reilly contributed five goals in 2013 - second on the team behind forward Sydney Leroux - and navigated the club-country balance with ease. Her ability to turn simple passes into dangerous opportunities, and move down the right side with purpose, make her a constant threat. Though she will lose Leroux's goal-scoring prowess in 2014, forwards Lisa De Vanna, Lianne Sanderson, Courtney Jones and Melissa Ortiz will provide no shortage of service options. We expect great things.
2014 Projection: 20 starts (20 appearacnes), 1780 minutes, 4 goals, 7 assists
2. Kristie Mewis
As a celebrated up-and-comer on the national level, Mewis enters Boston on the tail end of a groundbreaking trade. Though her productivity may never match that of Leroux, she brings the left-sided talent that Boston desperately needs, serving as a quick, powerful, intelligent, defensive-minded midfield option who offers exceptional variety. Don't mind the soft stats in 2014 - Mewis will contribute both offensively and defensively, immediately developing into a household name.
2014 Projection: 20 starts (20 appearances), 1740 minutes, 3 goals, 3 assists
3. Maddy Evans
Evans waited until mid-2013 to make her debut, filling in as a spot starter and late-game spark. The Philadelphia native immediately added width to the field, benefitting from several clean, consistent performances. If Evans continues to move up and down the flank with pace, she will play a pivotal role in 2014, adding depth when O'Reilly and Mewis depart for international duty.
1. Kaylyn Kyle
When Breakers GM Lee Billiard acquired Kyle last fall, his transaction flew under the radar. We believe the Canadian international deserves more recognition. She is tough over the ball, tough to push off the ball the tough to challenge one v. one. In front of center backs Cat Whitehill and Kia McNeil, Kyle will serve as a defensive stalwart, tracking back with the best while pushing forward with pace. Keep an eye on the 25-year-old midfielder; in 2014, we except her to immediately add strength to Boston's midfield.
2014 Projection: 18 appearances (16 starts), 1500 minutes, 1 goal, 1 assist
2. Joanna Lohman
Lohman nearly contributed 1900 minutes in 2013, offering attacking creativity behind forwards Leroux and Sanderson. Unfortunately, she also proved inconsistent at times, disappearing from some matches while standing out in others. Without question, Lohman's speed, grit and attacking style will provide value in 2014. But with deep attacking options around her, and a probable 4-3-3 system that will feature Kyle as a holding midfielder, Lohman's productivity may drop. The feisty midfielder will earn minutes, though competition looks steep.
2014 Projection: 12 appearances (8 starts), 780 minutes, 1 goal, 0 assists
3. Kim DeCasare
DeCasare, a late-round draft selection in 2014, joins the Breakers with a class of versatile, attack-minded players. In four seasons with the Duke Blue Devils, DeCasare collected 29 goals and 15 assists, contributing from a variety of attacking positions. Although we expect Durkin to experiment with the young rookie, we imagine she will start the season with the reserve squad, working to develop a more exclusive skill set. We believe in DeCasare - but she seems a few years removed from NWSL play.
2014 Projection: 1 appearance (0 starts), 15 minutes, 0 goals, 0 assists