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Breakers vs. Chicago Red Stars 2014: NWSL Match Preview

On Thursday, the Breakers host the Chicago Red Stars in search of their second victory of the season. Midfielder Kristie Mewis, who missed the team's first four matches, will look to guide the club out of a disappointing 1-3-0 start.

Despite a quiet first two months, creative midfielder Lori Chalupny will threaten Boston's back line
Despite a quiet first two months, creative midfielder Lori Chalupny will threaten Boston's back line
USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Red Stars at Boston Breakers
5/15/2014, 7:00 PM
Harvard Stadium, Allston, MA

Current Form:

After practicing through a much-needed week off, the Breakers will host Chicago in dire need of a victory, a familiar position for the young club. Tom Durkin's squad has struggled to earn results thus far, outdueling their opponent just one time in four matches (1-3-0). In their last match, the Breakers failed to break Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron, turning in a frustrating offensive performance en route to a 1-0 defeat. On Thursday, Durkin and co. will look to avenge their third loss in four matches--and draw closer the .500 threshold.

Last Four: L-L-W-L

Despite earning results in three of their first five matches (2-2-1), the Red Stars currently sit on the bottom half of the table, where they spent much of the 2013 season. On Sunday, Chicago used a game-winning tally from forward Jen Hoy to defeat Houston, though the scoreline highlighted a discouraging trend: the Red Stars have struggled to find the back of the net. Through five matches, the team has scored just three goals, the lowest total on table. Chicago will look to break from an early-season slump--and turn in a complete offensive performance--on Thursday.

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

What to Watch For:

When the Breakers square off against Chicago for Thursday's midweek matchup, the team will welcome an unfamiliar attacker: wide midfielder Kristie Mewis. The Boston College graduate and U.S. International missed the first four matches of 2014 with a high ankle sprain, and will likely join the Starting XI opposite international teammate Heather O'Reilly. The duo will combine with Lianne Sanderson and Joanna Lohman in the middle of park, and may even welcome newly-acquired midfielder Nikki Washington. Up top, Durkin will need to replace veteran Lisa De Vanna, who received a red card in the team's loss to Sky Blue F.C. Last week, De Vanna joined the Australian National Team ahead of the 2014 AFC Women's Asian Cup, and, despite the red card, was not a part of Durkin's original 11. Expect Katie Schoepfer to step back into her forward role, looking to spark an inconsistent Breakers attack during Thursday's week six matchup.

In Chicago, the Red Stars will look to accomplish a similar task: jumpstart an offense that has failed to develop a true identity. Midfield duo Lori Chalupny and Julianne Stitch, two of the team's most prominent creative engines, have struggled out of the gate, while the rest of the attack has contributed just three goals and one assist through five matches. Chicago's back line has kept the team afloat thus far, surrendering only three goals across the same span. If Chalupny and Stitch can relocate their 2013 form, and begin creating chances behind Hoy and forward Brock Hayley, the Red Stars will push hard against Boston's middle-of-the-road back line.

In the end, expect a week of rest to work wonders for a reeling Breakers side, pushing the team to earn a home result in Kristie Mewis' debut.

To buy tickets to Thursday's rivalry match, visit BreakersTickets.com