After a season marred by inconsistency, the Boston Breakers open their 2015 season on Saturday against the Portland Thorns. However, much of the Breakers’ defense that allowed 53 goals is returning and the club lost several key players in the offseason. A young team, the Breakers roster is full of untested players. The success of these players, and the emergence of a solid, consistent backline is essential to an improved season for the Breakers.
Amy Barczuk – The Breakers acquired Barczuk in November via a trade with Western New York that cost the Breakers a second round pick. The defender made nine starts and appeared in 19 games for the Flash in 2014. Barczuk also provides an option for Boston as a defensive midfielder.
Bia – Brazilian international Beatriz Vaz e Silva came to Boston after two other Brazilians the Breakers signed were called into an 18-month residency program. The 29-year-old midfielder most recently played for the Brazilian team Ferroviaria.
Kassey Kallman – The Breakers acquired Kallman in the trade that sent Heather O’Reilly to FC Kansas City. The 22-year-old defender started and played in 18 matches for FC Kansas City in 2014, her rookie year. The defender should bolster a Breakers defense that was quite poor for the majority of last season.
Ketlen Wiggers – The Breakers signed Wiggers in December and she was not selected for Brazil’s 18-month residency program. The 23-year old forward last played for Centro Olimpico and in 2013 also played for the Swedish side Vittsjo, making two starts in five appearances.
Morgan Marlborough – The 24-year-old forward arrived in Boston along with Kallman in the trade sent Heather O’Reilly to Kansas City. The forward scored twice while making nine appearances and two starts for the championship team.
Stephanie McCaffrey – A product of the Breakers’ college academy, Boston traded its ninth and 11th picks for the Boston College star. Her 32 goals with Boston College are fifth all-time for the school. Her success is key for Boston, who is looking to replace the goals scored by the departed O’Reilly and Sanderson.
Rafinha – Boston signed the Brazilian midfielder, also from Ferroviaria, after the Brazilian federation announced two of Boston’s players would leave for an 18-month residency program. Rafinha started 10 games for Ferroviaria last season, scoring five goals.
Lianne Sanderson – The English midfielder has been a cornerstone in Boston for the past two seasons, making 41 total appearances. She led the Breakers in 2013 with seven assists and chipped in five goals. In 2014, Sanderson found the back of the net five times and added three assists in 19 games. She also broke back into the English national team pool and opted to remain in the English FAWSL to prepare for the World Cup.
Bianca D’Agostino– The 26-year old retired in September at the age of 25 after appearing in 16 matches for the Breakers last season.
Courtney Jones– Jones retired at the age of 24 in order to start a business. Jones appeared in 18 games, starting 13, a career high.
Joanna Lohman– A veteran, Lohman saw playing time dwindle in Boston as the season progressed. Boston waived her and the Washington Spirit signed her going into the 2015 season.
Heather O’Reilly– Boston traded the USWNT midfielder in a deal that sent former FC Kansas City players Marlborough and Kallman to the Breakers. Heather O’Reilly was a bright spot for the Breakers last season, scoring 9 goals and recording 5 assists. In minutes, O’Reilly was second only to Cat Whitehill despite her national team commitments.
Jazmine Reeves– A breakout rookie for the Breakers, Reeves retired at the end of the season to take a job with Amazon. She played in 17 games, scoring seven goals.
Overview of last season:
The Breakers finished in eighth place, giving up 53 goals in the process. The Breakers struggled with consistency, particularly at defense. Their final three games were a bright spot, as the team recorded two wins and let up two goals. But excluding their final three games, the Breakers let up an average of 2.4 goals a game. The poor performing defense did make way for a breakout season for goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher who has become the USWNT’s number three goalkeeper going into the World Cup.
World Cup Impact:
Boston is likely to lose two players to the World Cup; defender Bianca Sierra, and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, making the Breakers one of the most consistent teams this season. That said, Naeher is a key loss. Naeher was instrumental in minimizing the casualties of a dysfunctional Boston defense and played every minute of the 2014 season. The backup goalkeeper entering 2015, Jami Kranich, is entering her second year with the Breakers and has yet to make an appearance professionally.