NWSL Week 11 Preview

National team players have returned to their clubs for Week 11 in NWSL. The Reign will need Hope Solo to come up huge, while Portland get a big boost with their returning stars.

Sky Blue FC vs. Portland Thorns

Match Date/Time: Saturday June 22 2013 at 7:00 PM ET

Venue: Yurcak Field Stadium, Piscataway, NJ

Online: NWSLSoccer YouTube Channel

Sky Blue embarrassed Portland on May 16 after handing them a 1-0 defeat at JELD-WEN Field. Portland's star strikers Christine Sinclair and Alex Morgan struggled to penetrate the box thanks to Christie Rampone's diligent defending and struggled to contain Kelley O'Hara down the wing.

The lone goal-scorer that night was Taylor Lytle, a late second half sub that found a narrow opening outside the 18 yard box to shock Thorns keeper Karina LeBlanc. Sky Blue and Portland have 25 points each but Sky Blue betters the Thorns on goal differential.

Both teams will be happy to get their national team players back after they were away last week. However, Portland's Mana Shim might not be thrilled about having to take a back seat after she played well in the absence of Sinclair and Morgan.

On the other end of the pitch, Sky Blue need to get Katy Freels more involved in attack. While they are on top of the table, SBFC is very dependent on Lisa De Vanna and has looked too predictable going forward recently.

Sky Blue FC Injuries

Out: Brittany Bock

Portland Thorns FC Injuries

Out: Becky Edwards

FC Kansas City vs Washington Spirit

Match Date/Time: Sunday June 23 2013 at 3:10 PM ET

Venue: Verizon Wireless Field, Overland Park, KS

Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel

Renae Cuellar returned from injury on June 16th to take the lead against Chicago in the third minute of action but her glory was short lived as Chicago went on to defeat FCKC 3-1.

On Sunday, Cuellar will not be the only attacking threat for FCKC as Lauren Cheney returns from USWNT duty. Cheney currently has four goals and four assists for FCKC. She's a threat on her own, but does plenty of setting up her teammates as well.

The Spirit offense has already taken an early hit to their starting XI. Diana Matheson is out with a sprained ankle which only leaves Stephanie Ochs, Lori Lindsey and Tiffany McCarty to pick up the pieces.

Unfortunately, Lindsey will be forced to work overtime in the midfield to clean up and regain possession for the Spirit which could decrease her opportunities going forward. This means McCarty and Ochs will have to work together to link up with Lindsey from the midfield.

FC Kansas City Injuries

N/A

Washington Spirit Injuries

Out: Diana Matheson, Caroline Miller and Teresa Worbis

Western New York Flash vs Seattle Reign FC

Match Date/Time: Sunday June 23 2013 at 4:05 PM ET

Venue: Sahlen's Stadium, Rochester, NY

Online: WNYF LiveSport Video Stream

Abby Wambach returns to Rochester after breaking Mia Hamm's record for most international goals scored. Her presence on the field will be felt immediately because she continues to be the Flash's go to player going forward, especially on set pieces.

Seattle will have trouble defending against her, not only because she has a height advantage, but because she is fast and physically imposing. Seattle's only hope to stop the star striker is, well, Hope. Hope Solo returns for Seattle this weekend and will likely start.

Each week the Reign inch closer to defeating their opponents because of Solo's ability to anticipate developing attacks by Seattle's opposition. The Reign's offense will find it challenging to overcome the Flash's virtually impenetrable defense, but they should take advantage of the opportunities at range on goal.

The Flash enter Sunday's game with 18 points which places them third in the league and Seattle comes in with only a point to their name. Needless to say, they sit at the bottom of the table.

Injuries

None reported

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