Defender Coco Goodson and Sky Blue FC battled but came up just short in Boston (Photo by Howard C. Smith).
Breakers Net Three First Half Goals, Earn 3-2 Victory
The Boston Breakers (4-5-3, 15 points) were able to use three first half goals to eventually topple league-leading Sky Blue FC (8-3-3, 27 points) on Sunday night, earning a 3-2 result at Dilboy Stadium. Despite the loss, Sky Blue FC still finds itself atop the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Standings following a loss earlier in the day by second place Portland Thorns FC.
“We’re disappointed, but we’re not too down because we created chances to leave here with a better result,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra said after the match. “Unfortunately, we made some mistakes in the first half and gave away too many opportunities. At the same time, we were still in the game even though this wasn’t our best performance.”
The Breakers created its first legitimate chance in the 8th minute after forward Lianne Sanderson was fed distribution on the right side of the penalty area. After receiving the pass, she quickly settled before firing a shot on frame, and Sky Blue FC netminder Brittany Cameron reacted with a diving save. After blocking the shot, Sanderson collected the rebound and saw her follow-up shot hit the post. Cameron then immediately jumped on the deflection and covered it up before any damage could be done.
In the 29th minute of play, Boston would hang the first goal of the evening. On that offensive set, newly acquired midfielder Jazmyne Avant raced down the right flank towards the corner flag before looking up and sending a bouncing feed towards the front of the frame. The ball was just out of the reach of midfielder Joanna Lohman, who attempted to finish it. After the delivery from Avant passed through Lohman, there awaiting distribution was striker Sydney Leroux. Once it arrived, the U.S. National Team forward was able to put it away and give the host side a 1-0 advantage.
Sky Blue FC quickly answered to that opening notch just two minutes later on a play that started on a long ball sent up from the midfield. Speeding onto the lob through the center of the Breakers defense was Canadian National Team midfielder Sophie Schmidt, who was able to put a couple touches on the ball before chipping it past Boston goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.
The even tally would not last long, however, as the Breakers were able to react with a second goal in the 35th minute. The scoring play would occur following a corner kick from Boston midfielder Heather O’Reilly, who sent a well-placed kick that ended up level with the far post. Perfectly timing a header on the cross was midfielder Mariah Noguiera, and she watched her high strike drift up and over the head of Cameron to make it a 2-1 game.
The Breakers were still not finished scoring in the opening session, and the host side was able to add a third tally in the 41st minute. After a battle ensued on the right side of the Sky Blue FC defensive set, a clearing try was settled by Leroux in the middle of the field. She quickly collected the loose ball at about 30 yards out, and she then rifled a deep shot that ripped into the right netting. With Leroux adding her second notch of the contest, Boston took a 3-1 lead into the locker room at halftime.
Sky Blue FC entered the second half in pursuit of closing the gap, and the visiting side was able to make it a one-goal differential in the 59th minute. Racing down the right flank with the ball at her feet was Schmidt, who hammered a shot on frame as soon as she saw a little bit of space in front of her. Naeher was able to make a diving save of that initial attempt, but Mexican striker Monica Ocampo was in the perfect place to collect the deflection and fire it into the net. With plenty of time left on the clock, Sky Blue FC edged one notch closer to leveling the count, 3-2.
The visiting side continued to battle throughout the remaining minutes of this affair, and it was able to create a few dangerous opportunities during its efforts. Unfortunately for Sky Blue FC, however, the 3-2 tally would still be standing when the final whistle concluded this game.
“Our players continue to show what they are made of,” Gabarra remarked about the hard-fought play of his team. “No matter the circumstances, they always give their best effort. That is something that will pay off for us as we enter the final stretch of the regular season and beyond.”
Next up for Sky Blue FC is a home pairing on Saturday, July 6th, when it welcomes the Washington Spirit to Yurcak Field at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that game are available now and can be purchased by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (723-2849).