Washington Spirit (6-4-1) at Boston Breakers (2-8-0)
Wednesday, 7 pm EDT
Series: Breakers lead, 2-1-2 (Spirit, 1-0-0 in 2014)
Interesting times for the Breakers who have lost two straight since benching all of their U.S. players and drubbing the Thorns behind a Jasmine Reeves hat trick. Now the national team players are down again, this time for a camp, and Reeves has a concussion and may not play. The Spirit are also down players, Crystal Dunn through injury and Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger to the U.S. squad. That means Chantel Jones will get her first minutes of the season in goal. She was last seen shutting out the Red Stars over 80 minutes in a game last August that was eventually called due to curfew after several weather-related delays.
What to watch for: The Spirit midfield continues to evolve, notably Christine Nairn who has found a good spot for herself playing out of a deep position and dictating the attack. She will be one of the key players on the field in this one. The Breakers will need all the energy they can muster to make it 2-for-2 without their most important players.
Western New York Flash (4-5-2) at Houston Dash (3-7-1)
BBVA Compass Stadium
Wednesday, 7:30 pm EDT
Series: Dash lead, 1-0-0
The Flash make their first visit to Houston on the heels of a record, 5-0 victory in Portland that snapped a five-match winless streak. The most surprising of those results was a 2-1 home loss to the Dash after the Flash led 1-0 at halftime. The same U.S. absences apply here with Carli Lloyd and the injured Abby Wambach out for the Flash and Whitney Engen, whose debut three days ago resulted in the first Dash shutout, plus Meghan Klingenberg are out for the hosts. The Dash remain in search of their first home point.
What to watch for: Becky Edwards may not have made national team camp this time around, but her loss is the Dash’s game. The holding midfield maestro not only plays stout defense, she plays perfectly flighted balls over midfield which given the Dash’s recent uptick in play around the opposing goal, has been a tremendous weapon. The Flash’s best way to keep Edwards out of the match is to use Samantha Kerr to stretch the field and put pressure on the Dash outside backs.
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