Seattle Reign FC heads on the road for the first time this season, traveling to the opposite end of Interstate 90 to face the Boston Breakers. It’s an unseasonably warm day in Boston, with highs in the mid-80s, but by game time the weather should be in the low 70s and partly cloudy. The game kicks off at 4 p.m. PT and can be streamed via the go90 app or website.
Seattle is undefeated all-time against the Breakers, with a 9-0-1 record and a 24-8 advantage in goals. However, after years as a basement dweller, Boston made significant roster changes this off-season and hopes to compete for their first-ever playoff appearance. After a disappointing 2-0 loss at Kansas City to start the 2017 season, Boston rebounded last week with a convincing 1-0 home win over Sky Blue FC thanks to a first-half goal from Natasha Dowie.
Like the Reign, Boston’s revamped attack relies on controlling play through the midfield, and they did a good job shutting down a Sky Blue midfield that dominated Seattle in the first game of the season. Angela Salem provides a strong defensive presence and links play from the back, while top 2017 draft pick Rose Lavelle has a creative flair, and can deliver through balls that split defenses and find attackers in stride, much as she did in setting up Dowie’s goal last week.
Boston’s weakness remains their backline, which has been challenged by injuries, player rotation, and players getting accustomed to new roles and partners. Maintaining a clean sheet against Sky Blue last week was a big step forward for the group, which had a league-worst 47 goals against and -33 goal differential last year. It’s an accomplishment that the Breakers will undoubtedly hope to build on in their second consecutive home match. Boston’s outside backs also like to get forward in the attack. The speed with which each team builds their counter attack could determine whether this game is a wide-open end-to-end thriller or a defensive stalemate.
Seattle sits alone in second place with 4 points from two matches, but five teams are only one point behind them coming into this weekend’s matches. A win today could give the Reign some breathing room near the top of the table, while a loss or draw will pull them back into the middle of the pack.
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