It’s a good week for a lot of games in the NWSL. There is a new coach, several players debuting for new teams, a red card suspension (coming this weekend), and crunch time for all eight teams. Here is a look at the midweek action in NWSL Week 13:
FC Kansas City (7-4-2) at Washington Sprit (1-7-3)
Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. EDT
Series: Kansas City lead, 1-0-0
Quick Look: In their first meeting less than two weeks ago the Blues completely dominated the play in a 2-0 win. Wednesday is a different day though. The Spirit are playing their first match since replacing Mike Jorden as head coach in favor of Mark Parsons. And the Blues are back on the field for the first time since acquiring Teresa Noyola from the Reign for Renae Cuellar. The Spirit will need much improvement to gain a result but a few things will work in their favor. Diana Matheson is back fit after having not played for the team in June. Meanwhile Lauren Cheney is not with KC this week due to her wedding.
Tactical Short: The Spirit have not scored in five matches and the task gets tougher with Desiree Scott patrolling defensive midfield in front of a very good backline and world-class keeper for Kansas City. The absence of Cheney could free up some room for Lori Lindsey to boss the middle but she will need help from Matheson and Ali Krieger, who at times earlier this season dominated the Spirit’s right flank.
Boston Breakers (4-5-3) at Seattle Reign FC (2-9-2)
Wednesday, 10 p.m. EDT
Series: Breakers lead, 1-0-0
Quick Look: The Breakers are embarking on the Cascadia double, a two-match stretch that could chart their course for the remainder of the season. No team has been swept on the trip yet, mostly because the Reign dropped their first five home matches. But a recent road trip that was setting up as a disaster finished with a draw and then the team’s first ever win—over the Breakers. The Reign are the only NWSL team to enter Week 13 on a winning streak. Recent signee Kennya Cordner is questionable with a hamstring strain.
Tactical Short: Even in snapping their own losing streak on Sunday the Breakers gave up two goals to Sky Blue and were under siege late. The Megan Rapinoe-Jessica Fishlock combination has blossomed quickly and Christine Nairn has also played better lately for Seattle. Can Mariah Nogueira and a shaky back four for the Breakers keep a revitalized Reign team at bay?
Western New York Flash (6-2-4) at Chicago Red Stars (3-6-3)
Thursday, 2 p.m. EDT
Benedictine University Sports Complex
Series: Flash lead, 1-0-1
Quick Look: You can argue that the Red Stars are in must-win territory for their playoff lives since a loss will drop them 11 points back while a win will pull them within seven. Last time a late goal by Brittany Taylor stole a point for the Flash on a night they were on the back foot most of the way.
Tactical Short: The Red Stars have been deadly on corner kicks lately and the Flash were especially poor in marking on set pieces in the last meeting. The Red Stars will be looking to push forward to Lori Chalupny, who draws as many fouls as any player in the league. From there if the Flash can tighten up their marking —or deny service to Chalupny altogther—they should be able to gain control the of match.
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