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NWSL Week 10 preview

Breakers coach Lisa Cole will be looking to turn the tide on Sky Blue FC two weeks after a 5-1 loss in New Jersey. (Photo copyright Meg Linehan for

All eight teams are in action this weekend which means everyone will get a taste of playing shorthanded.  Here is a look at Week 10 in NWSL:

Western New York Flash (4-2-2) at Washington Spirit (1-4-3)
Saturday, 7 p.m. EDT
Maryland SoccerPlex
Series:  tied, 0-0-1

Quick Look:  These two traded late goals in a 1-1 draw in an April match notable as the one when Abby Wambach got concussed.  No Wambach for this one and with Carli Lloyd and Samantha Kerr also on international duty, the Flash’s offensive depth will be tested.  As for the Spirit they have not played since two days before Memorial Day.  It is a break too long for comfort but it has given Mike Jorden a chance to work some of his younger players hard in preparation for being without Ali Krieger and Diana Matheson.  Unfortunately Caroline Miller won’t be one of them.  She is out with a fractured right ankle.

Tactical Short:  Without Krieger and Matheson the Spirit are going to have to find some way to generate an attack.  Stephanie Ochs and Ingrid Wells have been quiet so far this season and will be asked to pick it up against a Flash midfield that will be somewhat vulnerable on the flanks without Kerr.

Chicago Red Stars (2-5-2) at FC Kansas City (5-3-1)
Sunday, 4:10 p.m. EDT
Verizon Wireless Field
Series:  Kansas City lead, 1-0-0

Quick Look:  Take two of the Midwest Melee sees a return match of Thursday’s 2-0 road win for the Blues.  That match saw Casey Loyd and Courtney Jones bag their first goals of the season and  Bianca Henninger registered a clean sheet in her first appearance despite playing behind two fresh central defenders.  The Red Stars are likely to get Leslie Osborne back from a sprained knee but will again be without Shannon Boxx and Zakiya Bywaters.

Tactical Short: Erika Tymrak stepped up as Kansas City’s playmaker on Thursday in the absence of Lauren Cheney and she gave Chicago significant trouble in the midfield. If the Red Stars allow her enough time to pick out her targets — including a clearly capable Courtney Jones — Chicago will struggle. Osborne’s inclusion, however, could solve that problem for Chicago.

Seattle Reign FC (0-8-1) at Portland Thorns FC (7-2-1)
Sunday, 5 p.m. EDT
Series:  Thorns lead, 2-0-0

Quick Look:  The Reign, swept in a four-game homestand, embark on a rough road trip, starting just down I-5 against their Cascadian rivals.  In their last meeting the Reign controlled much of the play and lost 1-0 on a controversial penalty call.  The Thorns will have major holes in the lineup without Christine Sinclair or Alex Morgan up top and Rachel Buehler in central defense.  The focus though will be on the Reign who are desperate for a result less than halfway through a season that is quickly slipping away.

Tactical Short:  Kiersten Dallstream has quietly been pretty good since being parked at left back for the Reign.  With no Sinclair or Morgan to worry about, Dallstream could have more time to get into the attack against what has been average outside play from the Thorns to this point in the season.

Sky Blue FC (7-2-1) at Boston Breakers (3-3-3)
Sunday, 6:30 p.m. EDT
Dilboy Stadium
Series:  Sky Blue lead, 1-0-0

Quick Look:  The second meeting of the season between the old WPS rivals will also be the second meeting without the deposed U.S. and Canada internationals.  That setup worked out well for Sky Blue the first time around in a 5-1 victory.  Neither team has had much success since though.  Sky Blue dropped a 3-0 decision at home to the Flash, who three days earlier stunned the Breakers with a stoppage time goal to snag a draw.  The Breakers then went to Chicago and lost 1-0.

Tactical Short:  Lisa De Vanna spearheaded the 5-1 Sky Blue win, not only because of her bicycle kick goal, but also by putting intense pressure on the Breakers backline and constantly forcing them into quick decisions and rushed passes.  The Breakers can break this pattern in part by doing a better job carrying possession in midfield.  Look for amateur Maddy Evans to get the start as her free trial for Lisa Cole continues.


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