Boston Breakers coach Tom Durkin said that Kaylyn Kyle wanted to play central midfield and that she was not interested in the defensive aspects of the position.
“She was interested in playing central midfield, she just wasn’t all that interested in the defensive aspect of it,” Durkin said Saturday night after the Breakers lost a 1-0 decision away to Sky Blue. “We really struggled with her movement because it took away from Lianne (Sanderson)’s position a little bit. And we were having a hard time getting Lianne into the game and then we were sort of exposed trying to balance the triangle.”
Kyle was conspicuously absent from the Breakers’ lineup two Sundays ago against Sky Blue. In her absence, Sanderson enjoyed her best game of the season and wound up being voted Player of the Week. Two days later Kyle was traded to Houston for Nikki Washington.
“We looked at it and said we really need somebody wide right,” Durkin said. “That was the one piece that was missing for us.”
So when the Breakers reconvene to host the Red Stars on May 15, they will have a decidedly different look. Washington will be on the right wing and Kristie Mewis will be on the left. Washington was not in New Jersey on the weekend as the club allowed her some time to relocate from Texas. Mewis came close to making her season debut but the staff elected to give her one more match to recover from a high ankle sprain.
“We’ll pretty much be at full strength minus Lisa,” Durkin said, referring to Lisa De Vanna. The Australian striker is heading to the Asian Cup and when she returns a one-game suspension awaits her after she was red carded late on Saturday.
The loss to Sky Blue dropped the Breakers to 1-3-0 and their 3 points are tied with the Dash and Red Stars for the fewest in NWSL. After a successful preseason, the club has struggled in its transition to playing NWSL-quality opponents. And the three losses have been very different. The Reign dominated them; the Dash scored twice in the last nine minutes to steal the win; and the Breakers missed several quality chances to wrest a result from Sky Blue.
“I thought it was hard fought but sloppy on both ends,” Durkin said of Saturday night’s loss. “I thought we started well and had two good chances, didn’t capitalize. Sky Blue came on top of us and we didn’t react well. We didn’t counter-punch. I give a lot of credit to Sky Blue. They put a really good effort out on a short turnaround.”
Durkin said he thought the Breakers began playing well late in the first half but added, “the moments we played well we got nothing out of the game.”
Durkin switched to a 3-5-2 late but De Vanna torpedoed that shape by getting sent off for continuously arguing a foul call that went against her after a dustup with Sky Blue defender Caitlin Foord.
“I feel for Lisa but I think she should have kept her cool a little bit more,” Durkin said.
The Breakers will now get to settle in at home, where they play their next five matches including an odd Thursday—Sunday set against the Red Stars in two weeks.
“Our preseason was awesome,” Durkin said. “We scored 18 goals and we allowed one. I always knew it was going to be tough when we faced more strenuous opposition to break the pressure and I think we’re having trouble dealing with that. I think the girls lost their confidence a little bit. I don’t fault anybody for their effort; they put the effort in. But we’re really struggling with some basic things. And every game we struggle with one or two basic things. And every game one or two players go missing.
“It’s a tough loss. I don’t think we’re playing that poorly.”
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