Western New York Flash vs Boston Breakers
Match Date: Saturday August 17 2013
Time: 8:00 PM ET or 5:00 PM PT
Venue: Sahlen’s Stadium, Rochester, New York
TV: Fox Soccer
The Flash are currently leading a three way tie with Portland and Sky Blue FC for sole possession of second place as they enter the final week of regular season matches. Boston on the other hand, have been eliminated from the post season and will complete their final match of the 2013 NWSL season on Saturday live on Fox Soccer at Sahlen’s Stadium.
The Breakers are unbeaten in four matches, most recently defeating FC Kansas City 1-0 at home. On the other end of the field, WNYF are unbeaten in six games but their performance last week against Portland was underwhelming as the Rochester giants failed to crack the deadlock for 90 minutes.
This week, for the Flash to gain sole possession of second place they will need to rely on Carli Lloyd. The U.S. midfielder is their strongest attacking player. In week 18, the Flash narrowly defeated Seattle 1-0 thanks in large part to Lloyd. She found numerous opportunities on goal but could not defeat Seattle’s keeper, Hope Solo.
Lloyd is accurate and strong on the ball and will be WNYF’s strongest foot forward. She will need support up top from strikers Samantha Kerr and Abby Wambach to feed her the ball but once they find their rhythm, this trio will be difficult to suspend from scoring.
Western New York Flash – Alex Sahlen
Boston Breakers – Bianca D’Agostino
Seattle Reign FC vs Portland Thorns FC
Match Date: Saturday August 17 2013
Time: 8:00 PM PT or 11:00 PM ET
Venue: Moda Health Pitch at Starfire Stadium, Tukwilla, WA
Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXEhcsV4Oj8
Before Seattle concludes their 2013 NWSL season, they will face their rivals, the Portland Thorns FC. The third installment of the Cascadia class will take place at Seattle’s home stadium, Starfire. The Reign have lost two previous meetings against the Thorns but this week their luck might change.
Alex Morgan is still sidelined with a MCL sprain along with Nikki Washington. Without Morgan, the Thorns have failed to record three points. In the match against Boston in which Morgan sustained her injury, the Thorns only managed to score once. The remainder of the match Portland struggled to gain an attacking edge through Christine Sinclair. The chemistry up front continued to disappoint when the Thorns met WNYF last week.
If Seattle can overwhelm the Portland midfield, then they might secure three points at home against their rivals. For Seattle to celebrate a victory and prevent Portland from gaining sole possession of second place, they will need to use Megan Rapinoe and Liz Bogus up front. The midfield is strong without Rapinoe, but the attacking force up front lacks the creativity that Rapinoe brings.
The Reign defense is strong but need to maintain their composure without conceding silly fouls or free kicks which will fall to the feet of Sinclair. For Seattle, their best bet is to use Jessica Fishlock’s speed, Keelin Winters control of the ball and Christine Nairn’s accuracy. For Portland, Tobin Heath is sitting on four yellow cards, something that could work in Seattle’s favor.
Seattle Reign FC – None Reported
Portland Thorns FC – Becky Edwards, Alex Morgan and Nikki Washington
FC Kansas City vs Chicago Red Stars
Match Date: Sunday August 18 2013
Time: 4:10 PM ET or 1:10 PM PT
Venue: Verizon Wireless Field, Overland Park, Kansas
Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBAtGnzVqQw
Pending on the results from the remainder of the top four teams, FC Kansas City currently hold first place with 38 points under their belt. It is vital for FCKC to defeat Chicago or else they risk being tied for first place if the remaining three post season teams defeat their opposition.
FC Kansas City is a solid team throughout the pitch but the top seeded team in the league fell last week to Boston and narrowly defeated Portland the week before. This week in order to maintain home advantage of the post-season, FCKC will need to rely on Erika Tymrak and Lauren Holiday to pull out a win despite failing to score a single goal last week against Boston.
Holiday and Tymrak can find the back of the net but will need to support of Kristie Mewis. The Boston midfielder/defender has a knack at finding the holes in the opposition’s defense. She will be a vital component for the FCKC offense as they look to put themselves on the board.
For Chicago, they are still without Lori Chalupny but this hasn’t prevented the Red Stars from fighting hard to secure a point or three. Last week, Chicago came back against Sky Blue, tying the New Jersey club 3-3 at home. The Red Stars are fighters and they will not conclude their NWSL season without giving FCKC a run for their money.
The Red Stars strongest attacking players at the moment are Jackie Santacaterina and Inka Grings. For the month of August, both players have scored two goals apiece and will look to tie Boston for fifth place. Helping them find goals will be Adriana Leon, the Red Stars sparkplug who makes it very difficult for the opposition to dispossess. She will be a vital player along with Leslie Osborne in the midfield.
FC Kansas City will keep their usual strategy but their biggest strength on the field is head coach Vlatko Andonovski who will be directing the attack from the bench. FC Kansas City will look to attack down the center through Tymrak and Holiday, which means that Chicago needs to be on high alert and possibly keep Taylor Vancil between the posts for extra measure.
FC Kansas City – None Reported
Chicago Red Stars – Lori Chalupny, Taryn Hemmings, Shannon Boxx and Zakiya Bywaters
Washington Spirit vs Sky Blue FC
Match Date: Sunday August 18 2013
Time: 5:00 PM ET or 2:00 PM PT
Venue: Maryland Soccerplex, Boyds, MD
Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BaVORkGIWIY
Sky Blue nearly clinched three points last week until a late equalizer in overtime from Jackie Santacaterina left the New Jersey club still fighting for sole possession in the top four. This week, Sky Blue might have some relief in their starting XI if Danesha Adams and Lisa De Vanna’s injuries have improved. Both strikers are currently listed as probable alongside Nayeli Rangel.
This week, Sky Blue competes against a team that has risen from the bottom. The Washington Spirit have recorded two consecutive wins but lost 1-0 to Sky Blue early in August. The Spirit are fighting fit while Sky Blue is gradually getting back into form. This season finale is one that should not be missed as it could end in the Spirit concluding their season on a high with three consecutive wins and preventing Sky Blue from gaining sole possession of second place. In addition, Sky Blue might have their best chance to gain a lead in the top four.
The Spirit are strong defensively but still struggle offensively. Lupita Worbis and Diana Matheson scored the Spirit’s game winners this month but the teams goals for record is the lowest in the league with fifteen goals. Washington needs to overcome their former statistics if they wish to defeat Sky Blue, the team that has defeated them three times this season.
This season finale is unpredictable because Sky Blue struggle offensively when Monica Ocampo is not on the field. It is unlikely that Ocampo will not start but she might have some difficulty manevouring around the Spirit defense. Washington’s midfield is not as strong but could still push the Sky Blue offense at bay, leaving Sophie Schmidt frustrated.
When Schmidt gets frustrated she usually finds more pockets for her teammates up front. Offensively, Sky Blue will rely on Ocampo, Schmidt and Freels to find the back of the net while Manya Makoski and Taylor Lytle push the ball forward.
Washington Spirit – Candace Chapman, Caroline Miller, Toni Pressley and Colleen Williams
Sky Blue FC – Brittany Bock, Caitlin Foord and Kelley O’Hara