June 19, 2011

Preview: Boston at Atlanta

Boston Breakers at Atlanta Beat (6 pm eastern, Sunday)
KSU Soccer Stadium, Kennesaw, Georgia.

Atlanta Beat (1-7-2)
Coach: James Galanis
Goalkeepers: A. Whitworth, A. Lipsher.
Defenders: C. Whitehill, K. Dowling, J. Sitch, K. Reynolds, A. Marquez.
Midfielders: L. Chalupny, K. White, M. Jesolva, K. Wright, I. Trotter, B. D'Agostino, A. Salem.
Forwards: M. Lenczyk, L. Patterson, K. Bethke, L. Sesselmann.
Not active: C. Lloyd, H. Mitts, K. Parker, K. Fraine, C. Flanagan.

Boston Breakers (3-5-2)
Coach: Tony DiCicco
Goalkeepers: A. Naeher, A. Phillips.
Defenders: K. Moore, I. Dieke, E. Reed, L. Bogus, N. Cross.
Midfielders: L. Osborne, M. Klingenberg, K. Winters, K. Schoepfer, L. Blayney.
Forwards: K. Dallstream, T. Hemmings, C. Zimmeck.
Not active: R. Buehler, S. Cox, A. LePeilbet, A. Scott, A. Sameshima, L. Cheney, K. O'Hara, K. Smith, J. Angeli (injury).

The Breakers will be missing eight players to national team duty for this contest, while Atlanta will be missing only three. Defensively is where the Breakers have been hit hardest, losing five defenders to the World Cup.

Atlanta enters this match badly needing a victory. They are in last place and nearly out of touch with the teams ahead of them. They showed definite improvement in last week's 3-2 loss, but time is running out on the 2011 season.

The Beat will be missing only a few key performers for this match, Carli Lloyd being the most notable. Last week, they got goals from Meghan Lenczyk and newly acquired Kacey White. White will give their offense a boost.

Midfielder and team leader Lori Chalupny is having a steady season and has scored two goals. Rookie Megan Jesolva is also having a fine season for the Beat. Cat Whitehill captains the defense for Atlanta and Allison Whitworth has been the starter in goal lately.

This is another key game for the Breakers. They are in fourth place, but have played more games than every team in front of them and Sky Blue who is lurking just behind them in the standings. They must get as many points as possible out of their eight remaining games to make the playoffs.

In absence of so many defenders, Ifeoma Dieke and Kasey Moore will be asked to hold together the middle of the Breaker defense. Alyssa Naeher has been Boston's number one keeper for the entire season and has a 1.30 goals against average with two shutouts.

The attack has improved with the addition of Meghan Klingenberg, but they will miss Smith, O'Hara, and Cheney. Backup forwards Kiersten Dallstream, Taryn Hemmings, and Claire Zimmeck will have to step in and do the job.

After this match, Boston will start their midseason break, while Atlanta will return to action on Wednesday against Sky Blue.