Sydney Leroux faces off against her old team when Seattle Reign FC welcomes the Boston Breakers to Moda Health Pitch on Sunday.
The Reign acquired the U.S. international forward and 2013 NWSL Best XI member in a blockbuster trade Nov. 18 that sent midfielder Kristie Mewis, goalkeeper Michelle Betos and two draft picks in the other direction.
The deal was one of many Seattle coach and general manager Laura Harvey made during a busy offseason that saw the Reign also bring in defender Carmelina Moscato, midfielder Mariah Nogueria and forward Danielle Foxhoven from fellow NWSL clubs as well as defender Kendall Fletcher (Canberra United), midfielder Kim Little (Arsenal LFC) and forwards Bev Goebel (INAC Kobe Leonessa) and Nahomi Kawasumi (INAC Kobe Leonessa) from overseas.
The influx of talent to go along with established stars and U.S. internationals Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe as well as Wales international Jess Fishlock – Seattle’s lone representative on the 2013 NWSL Best XI team – will have Seattle fans hoping their team can make a push toward the top half of the standings after finishing seventh last season.
Harvey will be pleased to have her entire contingent of U.S. internationals from the get go this season.
Solo is healthy this year after missing the early part of last season while recovering from surgery to repair damaged ligaments in her left wrist.
Meanwhile, Rapinoe will be available for the entire 2014 season after she left French club Olympique Lyonais. The midfielder did not join the Reign until June 23 last year after completing her season in France.
For the Breakers, first-year coach Tom Durkin will be looking to improve on last season’s fifth-place finish and propel his retooled club into the NWSL Playoffs.
Despite losing the second leading goal scorer in the league last season in Leroux, Boston has acquired a host of attacking options to go along with returning NWSL Second XI forward Lianne Sanderson and U.S. international midfielder Heather O’Reilly.
In addition to receiving Mewis, a U.S. international midfielder, the Breakers also brought in Australia international Lisa De Vanna, who was nominated for the 2013 FIFA Puskas Award given to the best goal of the year.
Boston also added Nkem Ezurike and Jazmine Reeves to their front line options with the No. 8 and No. 21 picks, respectively, in the 2014 NWSL College Draft.
On defense, the Breakers added the versatile Courtney Jones from FC Kansas City. She joins a backline that includes Cat Whitehill, who spent five games as the team’s player/coach last season, Julie King and goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher – who was recently made a U.S. allocated player in the League.
The Breakers will also have Bianca D’Agostino back this season after the defender missed the entire 2013 campaign with a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her right knee.
Reminder of the full 2014 NWSL Schedule
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