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Boston Breakers 2010 Season Preview

Boston Breakers
2009: 7-9-4, 25 pts.; fifth place regular season (missed playoffs)

Coach: Tony DiCicco

Key Players:  Kelly Smith, Alex Scott, Amy LePeilbet, Stephanie Cox, Kristine Lilly, Leslie Osborne, Lauren Cheney

Star Watch: Kristine Lilly – She has made her way back into the U.S. Women’s National Team picture after almost two years away thanks to her play with Boston in 2009.  Somehow, Lilly has transcended time to appear for the U.S. across four different decades and her leadership and production rate will be critical to the success of the Breakers.

X-Factor: Lauren Cheney – All signs point to Cheney being an absolute stud in the making for the United States and the Boston Breakers, but whether or not it takes her some time to adapt to the professional game will effect Boston’s early production.  Along with Lilly and Kelly Smith, Cheney will be expected to score some goals.

Talk to Breakers Head Coach Tony DiCicco for one minute about 2009 and he will begin to tell you about the team’s scoring troubles.  The Breakers found net just 18 times in 20 games in the inaugural WPS season, and while that is pretty much on par with what was a low-scoring season across the league, it was a lack of goal-scoring production that contributed to Boston missing the playoffs.  Kelly Smith led the team with six goals in 2009 and Lilly was able to add three goals and three assists.  Lauren Cheney should help with that up top and Laura Del Rio is also a solid attacking option.  In general, the Breakers should be much improved offensively.

Perhaps the team’s most interesting pick-up of the off-season was Leslie Osborne (another X-Factor), whose ability to hold the ball and control the game in the center of the park will be critical.  Osborne will surely need to adapt to new surroundings, but she will need to do so quickly as the burden to control the flow of the game will rest on her shoulders.  The loss of Heather Mitts initially looked like a blow to Boston, but the addition of Stephanie Cox (who can play outside back or center back) and Osborne in the holding midfield role should help the Breakers defensively.  Consistency will be key for DiCicco and his players in 2010 after a 2009 season of ups and downs, including missing out on the playoffs on the last day of the season with a 2-1 loss to a struggling Los Angeles Sol team.

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