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NWSL Week 6 hits the weekend

Kristie Mewis could hook up with Heather O'Reilly when the Blues host the Breakers Saturday night

After a most intriguing Thursday that saw Sky Blue FC hand Portland Thorns FC their first loss of the season and the Washington Spirit put four goals on Seattle Reign FC, the matchups will switch this Sunday to conclude Week 6.  Saturday night the Breakers visit FC Kansas City at Verizon Wireless Field, the new moniker for the soccer pitch at Shawnee Mission North District Stadium.

Here is a closer look:

Boston Breakers (2-0-2) at FC Kansas City (2-1-1)
Saturday, 8:35 pm EDT
Verizon Wireless Field
Series:  First meeting

Quick Look:  The Breakers are the last undefeated side in NWSL and while they are five points off the pace they have two matches in hand on the leaders and have dropped fewer points than any other team.  One player the Breakers will not have is Ashley Phillips who is out for the match for unspecified reasons.  Mexican teenager Cecilia Santiago will get her second start of the season in place of Phillips.  Kia McNeill is expected back in the lineup after missing last weekend’s draw in Washington with a minor ankle sprain.

Tactical Short:  If Heather O’Reilly spends any time on the left side she will likely be up against Kristie Mewis, which would be a juicy midfield battle that could wind up spilling over to national team camp as Mewis looks to forge a regular place on the U.S. team.  The pressure will be on O’Reilly though to protect the Breakers’ inferior outside backs.

Washington Spirit (1-2-3) at Portland Thorns FC (4-1-1)
Sunday, 5 pm EDT
JELD-WEN Field
Series:  Thorns lead, 1-0-0

Quick Look:  The Spirit have already had a productive West Coach swing having knocked off the Reign and they will be going up against a Thorns team coming off a loss for the first time this season.  Despite the win the Spirit still had too many defensive letdowns in Seattle and the Thorns will pose a much stronger line of attack.  Center back Candace Chapman is on the trip but the Spirit are bringing her along slowly and her participation will be a game-time decision.

Tactical Short:  Look for Becky Edwards to spent considerable time trying to slow down Lori Lindsey, who has now played two fantastic matches in a row.  If Lindsey can win this battle the Spirit can win the midfield and give the Thorns fits.  Another interesting showdown will be if Diana Matheson penetrates far enough on the right flank to take on Nikki Marshall.

Sky Blue FC (4-1-1) at Seattle Reign FC (0-5-1)
Sunday, 9 pm EDT
Starfire Stadium
Series:  Sky Blue lead, 1-0-0

Quick Look:  The Reign are quickly becoming a desperate team and they’re about to play their third match in nine days with a batch of injuries helping to keep them winless.  The latest to go down was Kate Deines who hobbled off early in Thursday’s loss to the Spirit.  Deines joined Elli Reed and Keelin Winters on the sideline although there is no word on the status of any of the three for Sunday.  Sky Blue is looking for three in a row – the first was a 2-0 route of the Reign and the second was a well-fought victory at Portland on Thursday.

Tactical Short:  Last Saturday, Lisa De Vanna practically broke the Reign will by herself by constantly running at the back line and forcing ill-advised turnovers.  Someone in the Seattle backline will have to figure a way to work the ball up field onto the feet of Kristina Larsen and Lindsay Taylor who helped provide meaningful attack Thursday night, something the Reign have not had in 2013.

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