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NWSL mid-week Week 7 Preview

Abby Wambach was critical of her teammates on the weekend. Wednesday they face a trip to Portland without the suspended Angela Salem.

Sky Blue FC (1-3-3) at Washington Spirit (3-4-0)
Maryland SoccerPlex
Wednesday, 7 pm EDT
Series: Sky Blue lead, 3-0-1

The Spirit will be trying to build off their huge, come-from-behind win over the Flash while Sky Blue is just trying to get on track. The visitors are also starting life without Taylor Lytle, who broke her leg two weekends ago in Western New York. About the only thing trending in Sky Blue’s favor is coming off nine days of rest whereas the Spirit had just three.

What to watch for: Sky Blue are desperate for points and to get them they will need to score goals. The best route to that is with quality possession through midfield, something the Flash were unable to accomplish on the weekend. The Spirit are also developing an ability to stretch the field wide which should be an advantage to the hosts.

Seattle Reign (7-0-0) at FC Kansas City (3-4-2)
Verizon Wireless Field at Durwood Stadium
Wednesday, 8 pm EDT
Series: Kansas City lead, 4-1-0 (Reign, 1-0-0 in 2014)

This is the return match from a highly entertaining, 3-2 Reign victory at home a week ago that saw them surrender a 2-0 lead before finding a game-winner. In what has been an all-too-frequent scenario, the Reign have enjoyed the week off while Kansas City played the weekend, drawing 2-2 at home to the Dash. The Reign are looking to improve on what is already the best start in women’s pro soccer history while the Blues are still looking to shake the late-game doldrums.

What to watch for: For stretches last week, Kansas City showed they can push the Reign around a little bit. This one should be a fascinating encounter in midfield where both teams like to use multiple players and many passes to play it through. Look for another chess match in which the fortunes of Kim Little and Lauren Holiday/Erika Tymrak determine who takes home what points.

Western New York Flash (3-2-1) at Portland Thorns FC (3-1-2)
Providence Park
Wednesday, 10 pm EDT
Series: tied, 0-0-3 (0-0-1 in 2014; Thorns, 1-0-0 in playoffs)

The Flash have yet to lose consecutive NWSL matches, but they’ll have their work cut out for them on a short-rest trip to Portland without Angela Salem. The crack defensive midfielder was booked twice in Saturday’s loss to the Spirit which equaled a red card and one-game suspension. It will also be interesting to see how the club reacts after Abby Wambach lit into the collective group for not offering her and Carli Lloyd enough support.

What to watch for: McCall Zerboni was dropped from the starting lineup last weekend but is the logical choice to step into Salem’s spot. For the Thorns, Allie Long is not on the injury report, suggesting her hamstring is better and that she’ll take her usual spot in midfield. Zerboni and Long could see a lot of each other and the could be the critical matchup on the evening. Another point of contention will be Wambach against Nikki Marshall and a group of inexperienced Thorns defenders.

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