NWSL Week 13 Weekend Preview

Sky Blue must produce a win against Washington if they wish to continue to hold sole possession of the top spot in the league. But their chances of doing so aren't great -- Sky Blue has been dealt a hard week of setbacks to their starting XI.

Sky Blue FC vs Washington Spirit

Match Date/Time: Saturday July 6 2013 at 7:00 PM ET

Venue: Yurcak Field Stadium, Piscataway, NJ

Online: NNWSL Soccer YouTube Channel

Despite recording a 1-1 draw against FC Kansas City on Wednesday, the Spirit are still in last place with seven points. The team has made several changes to their roster and coaching staff in the past couple of weeks, which will hopefully assist in the Spirit moving up the ranks. For this to happen, the defense will need to work better together as they are struggling to keep the opposition at bay.

Ashlyn Harris is a strong goalkeeper but her job is more difficult than every other keeper's thanks to her defence. Harris will have some difficulty shutting down Sky Blue's strongest attacking player, Monica Ocampo. Ocampo is credited with four goals in nine appearances including two assists. She is fast and difficult to dispossess and is especially good at finding spots inside the box to wait on a service from a teammate. Harris will need to delegate her defense to push out Ocampo in order to avoid conceding goals.

Sophie Schmidt received a red card against Boston in week 12 which means she is suspended for Saturday's match. Not only is Schmidt out, but Caitlin Foord and Lisa De Vanna are still overseas playing for Australia. Therefore, Sky Blue will be short on attacking talent especially if Kelley O'Hara's ankle injury rules her out of the match.

With so many setbacks to Sky Blue, this may be the Spirit's best opportunity to notch a win, but to do that they'll have to break down a rock-solid defense. Diana Matheson will need to be on her game.

Injuries and suspensions

Sky Blue FC

Doubtful: Brittany Bock

Out: Sophie Schmidt (suspended), Lisa De Vanna (international duty), Caitlin Foord (international duty).

Washington Spirit

Out: Caroline Miller

Portland Thorns FC vs Boston Breakers

Match Date/Time: Saturday July 6 2013 at 7:30 PM PT, 10:30 PM ET

Venue: JELD-WEN Field, Portland, ORE

Online: NNWSL Soccer YouTube Channel

Portland has been battling it out for the top spot with Sky Blue for weeks now and Saturday's game might be their best chance to finally move into first place. Portland trails Sky Blue by a point, and if previous games are anything to go by, the Breakers' defense won't be able to withstand the attacking prowess of Mana Shim and Alex Morgan.

Hoping to shore things up at the back, Boston recently acquired Chicago defender Carmelina Moscato. The Canadian national team member made her debut last week against Seattle in the 88th minute and will likely start on Saturday against Portland. She is a strong and tall defender and Boston must take advantage of her experience. At the moment, the Breakers are much stronger going forward than they are at the back. The midfield is dominated by Heather O'Reilly, Joanna Lohman and Lianne Sanderson but Portland might be able to find some joy by working the flanks.

Injuries and suspensions

Portland Thorns FC

Out: Becky Edwards

Boston Breakers

Out: Bianca D'Agostino, Kyah Simon (international duty)

FC Kansas City vs Western New York Flash

Match Date/Time: Sunday July 7 2013 at 4:10 PM ET

Venue: Verizon Wireless Field, Overland Park, KS

Online: NWSL Soccer YouTube Channel

Sunday's match between FCKC and the Flash will be a competition between the league's best offensive teams. Erika Tymrak, Melissa Henderson and Courtney Jones are opportunistic and skillful players that can win the ball, pass and score. This trio along with Kristie Mewis will be vital for Kansas City against WNYF.

On the other side of the ball, the Flash have their own dangerous set of attacking players in Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd, Brittany Taylor and McCall Zerboni. For FCKC to have a chance at holding onto the ball and getting it to their forwards, however, they will need to rely on Desiree Scott and Mewis to win possession in the midfield.

FCKC's biggest challenge will be coping with the Flash's height advantage and physical strength. Lloyd, Zerboni and Taylor do not shy away from physical contact and will use this to their advantage to win the ball or earn free kicks in favorable spots around the 18 yard box.

Injuries and suspensions

FC Kansas City

None reported.

Western New York Flash

Out: Vicki DiMartino.

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