NWSL Week 11 Preview: Western New York Flash hopes to stay on a roll

WNY Jessica McDonald (1)

By TOM SLATER

With the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) at the midway point of the season, the push for the playoffs can begin in earnest.

The NWSL Week 11 fixtures will be the first without 24 United States national teams players for what could be upwards of two months. Team depth may be the deciding factor.

Here’s a look at the Week 11 matchups:

Friday, July 1:

Chicago at Western New York:  The two teams are tied for second with 18 points. Jess MacDonald had three goals and an assist in a 7-1 win over Boston and was named the NWSL Player of the Week. MacDonald’s hat trick was the NWSL’s first of the season. Chicago is 2-0-2. Sofia Huerta usually does well for the Red Stars with Christen Press gone so look for her to put one away. Jenny Hoy is also dangerous for Chicago. The Red Stars won the first match between the two in April.

Saturday, July 2:

FC Kansas City at Washington Spirit: Two-time defending champion FC Kansas City has spent the season near the bottom of the table. They are winless in their last three games (0-1-2). The Spirit are coming off their only home loss of the year and second in two years, 2-1 to Sky Blue. Diana Matheson has been having a great year for Washington and this match could be her last through the Olympics. Same with goalkeeper Stephanie Lebbe.

Boston at Seattle: Both teams have underachieved but one will come away happy. The Breakers got decimated by Western New York, 7-1, last week. They’ve only scored three times in 2016 and are solidly at the bottom of the table. They did sign French midfielder Ghoutia Karchouni who played at Paris St. Germain but it is unknown whether she will be available Saturday. The Reign scored one goal in June with a win and a pair of draws. Hayley Kopmeyer will start in goal with Hope Solo gone.

Sky Blue FC at Portland: Sky Blue FC is playing better in early summer. Portland loses lots of national team players. Stay tuned to EoS for the full Sky Blue preview.