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2013 NWSL preview: Boston Breakers

Apr 13, 2013, 5:39 AM EDT

New Seattle Reign forward Sydney Leroux returns to the Pacific Northwest after scoring 11 goals in 19 games last year in Boston (Photo: Getty Images.) Getty Images

Western New York Flash may have the last three titles (in three different leagues), but the Boston Breakers carry the claim of being the only franchise in the new National Women’s Soccer League to have also played in the WUSA and WPS, the first two attempts at professional leagues in the U.S.

The Breakers are now led by Lisa Cole, who was Tony DiCicco’s assistant in WPS and who took over as head coach last year, when Boston played in the semi-pro WPSL Elite League during the year of limbo for a women’s top flight.

Cole’s team should have no trouble scoring goals, but it lacks a proven No. 1 goalkeeper, and without that, it could be a very long season for Boston. That could prove for some high-scoring, entertaining games if the Breakers just aim to outscore the opponent.

Who you know: Boston was allocated speedy U.S. forward Sydney Leroux (pictured) and fan favorite right midfielder Heather O’Reilly to build the attack around. U.S. defender Heather Mitts announced her retirement just last month and would have been the other allocated U.S. player for the Breakers. This will be Leroux’s first professional league after being drafted No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Beat in 2012 but never seeing the field due to WPS folding. O’Reilly has been in top form this calendar year, which is a good sign for Boston and the United States.

Who you should know: Besides the fact that these two players are top contenders for coolest hairdos in the league, Lianne Sanderson and Kyah Simon could end up being the life of Boston’s attack — the engines that setup Leroux and O’Reilly. Veteran defenders Cat Whitehill and Kia McNeill will be tasked with leading the backs…and the team.

What it means: Like a few other teams in the league, Boston’s outlook is something of a tossup. The Breakers are likely a middle of the table team, but whether or not that means sneaking into the Top 4 and the playoffs or dropping toward the bottom of the table will likely depend on coaching and how well the backline performs. The potent attack will need to live up to that billing, too.

Boston opens the season at home against the Washington Spirit on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET.

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