Midweek action is back for the next three weeks and pretty much every game from here on out figures to have some sort of playoff implication. Here is a look at the midweek action in NWSL Week 16:
Boston Breakers (5-6-5) at FC Kansas City (8-4-5)
Wednesday, 8:35 pm EDT
Verizon Wireless Field
Series: Kansas City lead, 1-0-0
Quick Look: This is the makeup of the match scheduled for April 21 and postponed when travel issues hindered the Breakers in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings. As the meet for the 2nd time the teams are heading in different directions. The Blues will move into first place with a win and could clinch a playoff berth with two wins this week and some help. The Breakers’ loss to Portland on the weekend assured they will need help to get into the top four.
Tactical Short: With Lauren Holiday (nee Cheney) continuing to play at MVP level and Erika Tymrak now looking like the best player to emerge from the college draft, stopping the Blues midfield has become next to impossible. The Breakers will need top performances from Mariah Nogueira and Joanna Lohman not only to deny Holiday and Tymrak space and time but to make sure they play smart balls forward and don’t give up quick counters.
Chicago Red Stars (6-6-4) at Seattle Reign FC (4-10-3)
Thursday, 10 pm EDT
Series: Reign lead, 1-0-1
Quick Look: The league’s two redemption stories meet for the third time this season. The Reign recently had their six-game unbeaten streak snapped while the Red Stars are at .500 after an 0-4-2 start that saw them tied or trailing for all but two minutes. The Red Stars enter the week five points back of the playoff bubble and they have added incentive to beat the Reign – the Red Stars hold the Reign’s 1st round pick in next year’s draft.
Tactical Short: The Red Stars managed a shutout in their first game without Taryn Hemmings but that was against a Spirit club that has not scored from open play in two months. The Reign attack was stymied in Kansas City last weekend but the Red Stars figure to have more trouble handling Christine Nairn, who has thrived playing behind the forward grouping of Megan Rapinoe, Jessica McDonald, and Renae Cuellar. Slow that group down and the Red Stars are right in the thick of things.