Here is a look at the midweek action in NWSL Week 9:
Western New York Flash (3-2-1) at Boston Breakers (3-2-2)
Wednesday, 7 pm EDT
Series: Breakers lead, 1-0-0 (Flash led 3-0-1 in WPS)
Quick Look: The Flash played only three times in May—all victories—and now they jump knee deep into a grueling stretch of eight away matches over 10. This is the first of four that will play out over 15 days. They last lost to the Breakers on April 27. The Breakers are licking their wounds after being pasted 5-1 by Sky Blue FC on Saturday. Look for Sydney Leroux to be back in the starting lineup after missing the last two, the first via coach’s decision and the second because of national team duty. Newly signed goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher is not in the 18 for the Breakers.
Tactical Short: Breakers rookie midfielder Mariah Nogueira has done a fine job as the team’s holding midfielder but Wednesday will be her first look at Carli Lloyd, who seems to be fully recovered from her shoulder injury. Look for Lloyd to play a more focal role in a Flash offense that has numerous options both in terms of personnel and tactics.
FC Kansas City (3-2-1) at Portland Thorns FC (6-2-1)
Thursday, 10:30 pm EDT
Series: Tied, 0-0-1
Quick Look: Both teams have found success since playing to a draw in the first ever NWSL match but both teams will be looking for confidence in this one, the first leg of the Blues’ Pacific Northwest weekend. FC Kansas City will be without Lauren Sesselmann, suspended for a red card in the team’s loss to Sky Blue two weekends ago. So look for Jen Buczkowski to slide back into central defense and Desiree Scott to be the full-time holding mid. For the Thorns they’ll gladly welcome Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan back to the lineup after being badly outplayed by the Red Stars on Sunday.
Tactical Short: FC Kansas City has come under scrutiny of late for their one-way offense that looks to play Renae Cuellar through as a lone striker. The Rachel Buehler-Kathryn Williamson tandem has been outstanding for the Thorns so it is likely the Blues will need someone new to take some chances in the attacking third. That someone could be Kristie Mewis if she can exploit what has been sub-par flank play so far by the Thorns.
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