Each day leading up to the start of the season, we’ll take a look at what 2017 has in store for two teams.
Tuesday: Boston Breakers and FC Kansas City
Wednesday: Seattle Reign FC and Sky Blue FC
Thursday: Washington Spirit and North Carolina Courage
Friday: Portland Thorns FC and Orlando Pride
The Boston Breakers are ready to leave a disappointing 2016 in the past and embark on a 2017 campaign they hope brings valuable experience for the young and talented core they put together via the draft, trades and offseason signings. A move out of the NWSL basement after back-to-back last-place finishes will be the goal for coach Matt Beard and his players.
2016 totals (with rank)
Overall record: 3-15-2, 11 pts (10th place)
Goals for: 14 (10th)
Goals against: 47 (10th)
Home record: 2-6-2 (10th)
Away record: 1-9-0 (10th)
Natasha Dowie (3 goals, 7 appearances)
Christen Westphal (Goal, 13 appearances)
Julie King (2 goals, assist)
Angela Salem (19 appearances, 1,699 minutes)
Forward Natasha Dowie joined the Breakers in the middle of last year and impressed in her seven-appearance cameo. The England international enjoyed a wildly successful loan spell in Australia with Melbourne Victory that saw her score 9 goals in 12 matches, tied for third in the W-League.
Boston also returns a pair of defenders in Christen Westphal and Julie King that will be looking to help the club bounce back from a year in which the Breakers set a new single-season record for most goals allowed per game.
Similarly, the Breakers should benefit from the presence of Angela Salem. The diminutive but tough defensive midfielder was nearly ever-present for the team last year as she featured in all put one match and chipped in with a goal and an assist.
Allysha Chapman (9 appearances, 710 minutes)
Emilie Haavi (Lillestrøm SK Kvinner)
Megan Oyster (15 appearances, 1,340 minutes)
Rosie White (Liverpool Ladies FC)
The Breakers brought in U.S. international Megan Oyster (from the Washington Spirit) and Canada international Allysha Chapman (from the Houston Dash) in a pair of offseason trades in aimed to bolster the Boston backline.
At the other end of the field, the Breakers restocked their attack with Norway international Emilie Haavi and New Zealand international Rosie White. Haavi scored 49 goals in 82 games over four seasons with Lillestrøm SK Kvinner in Norway, during which time the club won the league and national cup in 2014 and 2015. Boston will have to wait for Haavi to make her NWSL debut after the forward suffered a broken jaw March 31 in preseason training that is expected to keep her out for 4-6 weeks.
White previously played for Breakers coach Matt Beard at Liverpool Ladies FC, where she notched four goals in 33 appearances.
Round 1, 1st overall: Rose Lavelle (M, Wisconsin)
Round 1, 3rd overall: Morgan Andrews (M, USC)
Round 1, 8th overall: Ifeoma Onumonu (F, USC)
Round 1, 9th overall: Margaret Purce (M, Harvard)
Round 4, 31st overall: Sammy Jo Prudhomme (GK, USC)
Round 4, 38th overall: Hayley Dowd (F, Boston College)
The Breakers went all in on the 2017 NWSL College Draft and came away with four first-round picks – including midfielder and No. 1 overall selection Rose Lavelle, who made her debut for the U.S. Women’s National Team on March 4.
While Boston traded for defenders and signed a pair of forwards from overseas, the club looked to address their midfield and goalkeeping concerns through the draft. In addition to Lavelle, the Breakers added fellow midfielders Morgan Andrews and Margaret Purce – both of whom were recently called into the U-23 U.S. Women’s National Team – in the first round.
Andrews was a member of 2016 NCAA champions USC and will be joined in Boston by a pair of college teammates – forward Ifeoma Onumonu and goalkeeper Sammy Jo Prudhomme.