Projected 2013 Boston Breakers Lineup (Questionable Starters in Parentheses)
Kia McNeill – D
McNeill always seemed like a natural fit for Boston given her background as a college player and now as an assistant with her alma mater Eagles. After some trying times early in her WPS career, McNeill really came on as a member of Philadelphia in 2011 before a rather forgettable stint in Russia. With McNeill and Cat Whitehill in the middle of defense, Boston certainly shouldn’t be lacking in experience at the heart of the backline, which should be key given how young they could be in goal. While McNeill’s physical, combative style should help the club against some of the giants up front on opposing teams, the Breakers will hope the tide of rash challenges and bookings are kept to a minimum from the Avon native this season.
Lianne Sanderson – M/F
English international may have called time on her Three Lions career, but Sanderson has been scoring at a solid clip for Espanyol and D.C. United Women at club level the past few seasons. After a prolific run in England with Arsenal and Chelsea Ladies, Sanderson was often hit or miss at her first stop in North America at Philadelphia of WPS. But Boston certainly didn’t need to get any younger in their attack after their player allocation, and the experienced Sanderson should be a refreshing change of pace from some of the club’s bound-to-be inconsistent youngsters. Instead of leading the Breakers line, Sanderson figures to slot in a little deeper in all likelihood, perhaps playing behind a center forward as a second striker.
Kyah Simon – F
Boston scored a real coup last season when they brought in Simon (and Matildas teammate Tameka Butt) for their WPSL Elite campaign. The Australian international was pure dynamite in her first season in North America, shining as one of the league’s very best threats in attack. It goes without saying that the Breakers were very much covetous of Simon’s ability for another season in the U.S., especially after seeing the young Matilda lead her Sydney FC side to glory in the Westfield W-League back in her home nation. Finding a way to gel both Simon and the club’s other preeminent scoring threat, Sydney Leroux, into the same lineup effectively will likely be a key to Boston’s season in 2013.
Cat Whitehill – D
There were probably some doubts surrounding Whitehill’s long-term future after she faded from the international scene with the USWNT, but she’s been a solid piece of a struggling Atlanta Beat side before last year’s efforts with the Breakers in WPSL Elite. There’s always the danger that the dropoff could come suddenly, but odds are, Whitehill should be a strong starting piece for the Breakers in defense once again this year. Her partnership with McNeill in the middle of the defense could be one of the league’s best, and her delivery on long free kicks is another great asset for Boston to utilize in their attack.
3. Joanna Lohman – M/D
The only real mystery coming into the Supplemental Draft was whether Boston would use a free agent slot for Lohman or draft her into the club. The club confirmed the signing of Kyah Simon late after the Supplemental Draft, making the selection of Lohman academic. Well traveled since her collegiate days with Penn State, Lohman looked to be on a one-way ticket out of the pro ranks after a forgettable stint with Washington in 2009. Lohman would promptly revitalize her career with Philadelphia, though her presence in the starting lineup waned a bit later in her tenure. With youth aplenty in front of her in attack though, Lohman’s experience and calm demeanor in the middle of the park could be an absolute godsend for the Breakers this year. Her versatility could see her fill in on defense, though she’ll likely be a prime contender for a starting slot in the center of midfield.
11. Katie Schoepfer – F
Another unsurprising pick when all was said and done, considering Schoepfer’s long stint with the Breakers over the past few seasons. Professional career looked to be going nowhere fast after a nondescript rookie season in WPS with Sky Blue FC. Appeared to be in last chance saloon with the Breakers in the final WPS season in 2011, with results being middling, with just two goals, and those coming against an inept Atlanta and a defensively challenged magicjack side. Proved to be an invaluable source of offense in WPSL Elite though, finishing with seven goals and six assists. Breaking into this starting lineup won’t be easy though, and Schoepfer might have to be content with being a super sub off the bench in attack.
19. Bianca D’Agostino – M
There was a lot of value in taking known commodities in the supplemental draft, and the Breakers are certainly familiar with D’Agostino, the Wake Forest alum having been a key member of the club’s WPSL Elite campaign last season. I wasn’t really impressed with D’Agostino during her tenure with the Beat, but the midfielder gained valuable experience with the Breakers last season and should be a solid squad player this year. I’m not sure she’s big and strong enough to hold her own deep in midfield, and she’s probably not dynamic enough to win a starting spot as an attacking midfielder though. Technically solid, D’Agostino should still at worst be one of the club’s first midfield options off the bench this year.
27. Jasmyne Spencer – F
Jet heeled forward out of Maryland has been a journeywoman thus far in her pro career, playing with the New York Fury of the WPSL Elite last season before a stint in Denmark with Brondby, including some cameos in the Champions League. Didn’t really light it up stateside last year with the Fury and was occasionally spotty at college level as well, though her pace also made her a terror against some defenses. Lacks size though, and given the multitude of options the Breakers have on the attack, she’ll likely be fighting for one of the club’s last roster spots.
35. Lauren Alkek – D
Alkek was a shocking pick in the 2011 WPS Draft and unsurprisingly didn’t make the cut with Sky Blue FC but has since plied her trade for WPSL side Bay Area Breeze and the Chicago Red Stars during last season’s WPSL Elite campaign. The right-back has Heather Mitts and Rhian Wilkinson ahead of her on the depth chart here though and could be in a battle for a roster spot if she can’t excel as an impact sub.
43. Jessica Luscinski – M/F
The Breakers used their last supplemental draft pick on another of their campaigners from the WPSL Elite season in 2012. Luscinski’s been a staple in the city for a while now, having been a star on some fantastic Boston University teams at college level. Though Luscinski was more than a little involved in the Breakers’ 2012 season, she struggled to produce offensively with any regularity, with just one goal and one assist on the year. Considering Boston’s suddenly flush with offensive talent, Luscinski could be in a fight for a roster spot this year.
What They Still Need
It’s pretty obvious that the Breakers still need a goalkeeper to help push Santiago, even if the young Mexican turns out to be the top option. The problem is, the goalkeeping ranks have been thinned out considerably in free agency and the supplemental draft. Alice Binns is still young but has experience with the club from last season, while if the club is turning towards an undrafted rookie, they could do much worse than Erin McNulty, who has tons of college level experience despite just coming out of Penn State this season.
The starting backline looks pretty set for the Breakers, though they appear short of center-back depth behind Cat Whitehill and Kia McNeill, while an additional left-back to spell Casey Short might be coveted as well. Otherwise, there look to be plenty of options in midfield and attack for Boston. Indeed, it may just be a matter of striking the right balance for head coach Lisa Cole.