June 4, 2011

Preview: magicJack at Boston

magicJack at Boston Breakers (6 pm eastern, Sunday)
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Boston Breakers (2-5-1)
Coach: Tony DiCicco
Goalkeepers: A. Naeher, A. Phillips.
Defenders: I. Dieke (probable), A. Scott (probable), K. Moore, L. Bogus, E. Reed.
Midfielders: L. Osborne, K. Winters, M. Klingenberg, N. Cross, K. Schoepfer, L. Blayney.
Forwards: K. Smith, K. Dallstream, T. Hemmings, C. Zimmeck.
Not active: R. Buehler, S. Cox, A. LePeilbet, L. Cheney, K. O'Hara, J. Angeli (injury), K. Davis (injury).

magicJack (4-1-0)
Goalkeepers: B. Maron, S. Myers.
Defenders: T. Ellertson, M. Schnur, M. Dalmy, N. Marshall, L. Vandenbergh.
Midfielders: S. Huffman, K. White, N. Washington, O. Davis, A. DaCosta.
Forwards: E. Masar, C. Press, J. Rasmussen, R. Moros.
Not active: H. Solo, J. Loyden, C. Rampone, B. Sauerbrunn, S. Boxx, S. Schmidt, L. De Vanna, A. Wambach.

No fewer than 11 USWNT players will be missing this match on Sunday. With such depleted rosters, we will quickly find out how much depth each team has.

MagicJack was hit at virtually every position, losing two goalkeepers, two defenders, a midfielder, and a forward. Additionally, Sophie Schmidt and Lisa De Vanna are not listed as active. Boston was hit hardest on defense, where they will lose three of their starting back line in addition to two talented offensive players in Lauren Cheney and Kelley O'Hara.

To make this match even more interesting, the two teams just completed a trade and both players involved may have a quick impact for their new teams. Meghan Klingenberg, who has had an audition with the USWNT but wasn't getting much playing time for magicJack, will now wear Boston's blue kit. Nikki Washington, who had appeared in five matches for the Breakers, will be playing for magicJack.

Both teams still have plenty of offensive firepower. Ella Masar leads magicJack's offense, with Christen Press, Johanna Rasmussen, and Sarah Huffman. Defensively, magicJack will miss Christie Rampone and Becky Sauerbrunn, but magicJack is very deep on the back line and have been playing defenders Marian Dalmy and Meghan Schnur in the midfield. Brett Maron will probably get the start in goal.

Boston will be looking for Kelly Smith up front. Veteran Leslie Osborne and rookie Keelin Winters lead the midfield and they will welcome the addition of Klingenberg, who can definitely be a threat from the wing.

Defensively, the Breakers will be thin, but experienced with Ifeoma Dieke, Kasey Moore, and Alex Scott. One advantage that Boston should have is that their regular keeper, Alyssa Naeher, will be in goal.

This will be a critical game for both teams. This game will mark the halfway point for the Breakers and at 2-5-1, they need to start making things happen if they are going to seriously challenge for a playoff spot. MagicJack is in second place and have a rare opportunity to make up points on league-leading Western New York, not to mention, put some distance between themselves and the rest of the pack.