Although fans were following the game through livetweets, it seemed as though for the first 25 minutes or so Jamaica was having a better go of it than their first game against the Breakers. Then the Breakers began picking up momentum and then, in the 35’, a Suzane Pires goal.
Then a Kristie Mewis goal in the 37’. Then Cat Whitehill. Then Nkem Ezurike. And finally Amy Barczuk to round it out at 5-0, the same score as the last time the Breakers faced Jamaica.
The Breakers won on a 10-goal aggregate through eight different scorers: Pires, Mewis (2), Whitehill (2), Ezurike, Barczuk, Stephanie McCaffrey, Morgan Marlborough, and Bianca Brinson.
The goalscoring bunch is a good mix of new and returning players, veterans and rookies. The Breakers might have a bevy of scoring options on their hands. But realistically speaking, these games cannot and should not be used as an accurate yardstick against which to measure the team’s prospects during the season. They’re undoubtedly a good way to build team unity, get the draftees into the first few gears on the way to playing at NWSL speed, and give Coach Tom Durkin a sense of who is going to be maximized playing where. But without playing other NWSL teams, preseason success is no kind of indication of league wins. (See: last season’s victories against college teams, followed by a 6-16-2 season.)
On an individual level, Durkin still seems to want to rotate McCaffrey, Marlborough, and Ezurike through that nine spot, and the center back pairing looks to be shaping up as Whitehill and Kassey Kallman, with Rachel Wood as a strong alternate option. Pires may fill the hole left by Lianne Sanderson as a playmaker while compatriots Bia, Rafinha, and Ketlen Wiggers continue to integrate nicely and bring better combination play through the attacking third. And the remaining unsigned draftees in Brinson, Fields, Verdoia, and Lofton could prove to be standout rookies this season.
Hopefully what happens in preseason doesn't stay in preseason.