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NWSL Week 7 Preview: Midwest Melee returns

Chicago Red Stars

Week 7 kicks off Friday night in Boston and continues with three staggered starts on Saturday. The Reign are idle for the second straight week but will host China in a friendly Friday night at Memorial Stadium. That match will not be live streamed.

Friday

Sky Blue FC (1-3-2) at Boston Breakers (2-3-0)
7:00 p.m. EDT, Soldiers Field
Watch: Youtube
Series: Sky Blue lead, 3-2-2

Points of Interest: Sky Blue have still yet to score twice in a game and are approaching 300 minutes without a goal in the run of play. The Breakers were the antithesis having surrendered at least two goals in every match—until last week when their defense suddenly clicked in a 1-0 victory over the Thorns. Sky Blue did control play last week in Washington despite losing late so perhaps that is the first step in breaking out of their scoring funk. The Breakers will retire Leslie Osborne’s No. 12 at halftime.

Saturday

Washington Spirit (3-2-1) at Western New York Flash (1-3-1)
7:00 p.m. EDT, Sahlen’s Stadium
Watch: Youtube
Series: Flash lead, 4-2-1

Points of Interest: The story line in Rochester is the home side being down two goalkeepers after Sabrina D’Angelo was injured last week and her replacement Chantel Jones, shoved Shea Groom from behind, drawing a suspension. The lucky call-up is Robyn Horner, who was Robyn Jones when she played at Michigan State and was on the Philadelphia Independence depth chart in WPS. Homer will have to deal with the Sprit’s active forwards, though Francisca Ordega has left to join Nigeria head of the World Cup.

Chicago Red Stars (3-0-2) at FC Kansas City (3-2-1)
8:00 p.m. EDT, Swope Soccer Village
Watch: Youtube
Series: tied, 3-3-1

Points of Interest: For the first time the Midwest Melee sees both clubs battling for the top spot on the table. The Red Stars are the league’s last unbeaten and the Blues have not conceded during a four match unbeaten streak. Red Stars’ rookie forward Sofia Huerta has emerged as one of the league’s best stories with two-goal games and Player of the Week honors two weeks running. Despite the streak FC Kansas City have not generated much offense yet this season and that could be a problem against the counterattacking Red Stars.

Houston Dash (2-2-2) at Portland Thorns FC (2-1-2)
10:00 p.m. EDT, Providence Park
Watch: Youtube
Series: Thorns lead, 3-0-0

Points of Interest: This was not a favorable matchup for the Dash in their expansion year but there could be a glimmer of hope.  The Thorns’ back line is riddled with injuries.  Rachel Van Hollebeke and Emily Menges spent the week trying to get fit enough for the match.  Both are officially questionable as is midfielder McCall Zerboni.  The Dash have their own issues in back and their new signings will not be available yet, but they are strong up top with Kealia Ohai playing well and Tiffany McCarty and Jess McDonald also capable of filling the net.

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