Chicago Red Stars vs Seattle Reign FC
Match Date: Saturday August 3rd 2013
Time: 6:00 PM
Venue: Benedictine Sports Complex, Lisle, IL
The Red Stars have a lot on their plate entering Saturday’s match. Not only are the Chicago team facing possible play-off elimination if they fail to produce three points at home, but they will be forced to do so without their team captain, Lori Chalupny.
The former U.S. national team midfielder suffered an ankle injury against the Portland Thorns in week 16 and was forced to exit the field. Her absence from the field was felt by the Red Stars, who struggled to put up an attacking presence in the Thorns back line. Fortunately for the Red Stars they managed to equalize late into the second half, matching Portland goal for goal.
This week without Captain Chalupny, the Red Stars need to devise a way to keep Seattle off the scoreboard because this is their last chance to keep hope alive for a play-off spot. The Reign bring a lot of attacking talent through Jessica McDonald, Megan Rapinoe and Christine Nairn. These players will be looking to dash Chicago’s hope for the play-offs.
It is a tall order to ask any team to cover Seattle’s aggressive players but Chicago have a talented back line that are determined to secure a clean sheet. If Rachel Quon can use her speed to cover Rapinoe, then she could provide some relief to the scoreboard. The greater complication would be deciding who will cover Jessica Fishlock. The Welsh midfielder is fast which makes it difficult for the opposition to cover her without conceding a foul. This works in Seattle’s favor but could hurt Chicago in the long run.
Chicago Red Stars – Lori Chalupny (right ankle injury), Taryn Hemmings (out for remainder of season – ACL/MCL tear) , Zakiya Bywaters (MCL sprain) and Shannon Boxx (knee surgery)
Seattle Reign FC – None Reported
Boston Breakers vs Western New York Flash
Match Date: Saturday August 3rd 2013
Time: 6:00 PM ET
Venue: Dilboy Stadium, Somerville, MA
Stream: Boston Breakers LiveStream ($4.99 fee) http://www.bostonbreakerssoccer.com/SCHEDULE/livestreams/742151.html
The Western New York Flash have one of the healthiest squads this season with minimal injuries. Their strength is evident in every position on the field which is something that Boston will need to strive to overcome. This game is an important match for the Breakers who will host WNYFlash at Dilboy stadium on Saturday.
If the Breakers fail to secure three points, they will not qualify for the play-offs. The Breakers only have four games remaining in the regular season including Saturday’s match against the Flash. A single loss or draw will dash their hopes at lifting the NWSL championship.
In order to avoid this, the Breakers need to reconstruct their defense which has been problematic all year round. The Flash will take advantage of their back line because the Breakers have conceded 29 goals this season, tying them with Seattle, a seventh place team. It is a challenge for any team to keep the Flash offense at bay and the Breakers are at a disadvantage.
The recent addition to the Breakers defense, Jazmyne Avant has been sensational but this week she has been listed as probable with a hip strain. This raises the question of whether she will be able to put pressure on her hip when running and if not, the Breakers will need to substitute her with Carmelina Moscato or Rhian Wilkinson so that the defense can still operate as a strong unit.
The Flash currently sit in fourth place with 30 points, only a point behind Sky Blue but seven points ahead of the Boston Breakers.
Boston Breakers – Bianca D’Agostino (out for remainder of season – ACL tear)
Western New York Flash – None Reported
Sky Blue FC vs Washington Spirit
Match Date: August 3rd 2013
Time: 7:00 PM ET
Venue: Yurcak Field, Piscataway, NJ
Stream: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel http://www.youtube.com/nwslsoccer
Sky Blue started the season on a high and continued their dominance atop the standings for several weeks until their starting lineup succumbed to a series of injuries, some of which have sidelined their impact players for several weeks.
This week the New Jersey club has added another starting player to their injured list, Danesha Adams will join Kelley O’Hara and Caitlin Foord on the bench after she exited the field against the Portland Thorns earlier in the week. Adams has been listed as having a sprained ankle, a similar injury to fellow striker O’Hara. It is unclear how Sky Blue will handle Adams replacement on the field because she is a vital part of the attacking lineup, usually combined with Lisa De Vanna and O’Hara.
De Vanna is also struggling with a hamstring strain that hasn’t provided her with much time on the field and a goal drought. The Australian national might make an appearance for the home side on Saturday but it might not be for more than 45 minutes.
With practically their entire starting lineup out of action, Jim Gabarra will likely turn to Mexican international, Monica Ocampo and Sophie Schmidt to take up residence in the front line. The midfield will require some arranging as well considering that Manya Makoski is still listed as probable with a concussion.
Washington does not fare any better than their opposition. Their injured list has grown with their entire back line except Tori Huster and Ashlyn Harris, being on the bench. There is no word as to whether Ali Krieger who suffered a concussion several weeks ago and Robyn Gayle who is nursing a knee sprain will find minutes on the field.
Without both of these defenders helping out Huster and Harris, it will be difficult for the Spirit to maintain a clean sheet especially with goal hungry Schmidt and Taylor Lytle on the field.
Sky Blue FC – Kelley O’Hara (right ankle sprain), Caitlin Foord (left foot sprain) and Danesha Adams (right ankle sprain)
Washington Spirit – Candace Chapman (right knee sprain), Caroline Miller (ankle fracture), Toni Pressley (groin strain) and Colleen Williams (out for remainder of season -ACL Tear)
Portland Thorns FC vs FC Kansas City
Match Date: Sunday August 4th 2013
Time: 5:30 PM PT or 8:30 PM ET
Venue: JELD-WEN Field, Portland, ORE
Stream: Fox Soccer
Neither team has much to report in terms of injuries as FC Kansas City has a healthy team with all 11 starters continuing to prove their strength on the field. Portland has a minor setback with Nikki Washington sitting on the bench due to a knee injury but the former UNC midfielder hasn’t received many minutes since the arrival of Tobin Heath.
Sunday’s match, a live broadcasted game on Fox Soccer, will be intense as Portland are vying for a spot atop the standings, one that is currently taken by FC Kansas City. The home team are looking to dominate early through Heath, who has provided the Thorns with energetic performances positive results. Heath will look to connect up top with Alex Morgan and Mana Shim. The former Santa Clara Bronco has been making a name for herself this season, scoring five goals and wreaking havoc for the defense. She is fast and strong on the ball, she communicates well with her teammates which is how she has supported them since the beginning of the season.
FC Kansas City will need to shut her down in the midfield and prevent Heath from finding much of the ball. She is good on her feet; her creative footwork is adored by her fans and a real problem for the opposition. However, Heath and Morgan both have four yellow cards to their names, something that FC Kansas City could use their benefit.
If Heath or Morgan earn another yellow, it would be an automatic suspension from the following game. This is something they cannot afford so close to the play-offs.
On the other end of the field, FC Kansas City have a slew of players to rely on for goals including Lauren Holiday, Erika Tymrak, Courtney Jones and Melissa Henderson. These players along with the remaining midfielders and Kristie Mewis could put a large dent in the score board: one that Portland could struggle to match.
Portland Thorns – Becky Edwards (out for remainder of season) and Nikki Washington
FC Kansas City – None Reported.