Laura Kalmari and Sky Blue FC had their struggles tonight (Photo by Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).
Breakers Defeat Sky Blue FC, 4-0
Boston, Mass. (Sunday, August 15, 2010) – The Boston Breakers (8-6-5, 29 points) picked up three important points tonight at Harvard Stadium, defeating Sky Blue FC (6-9-4, 22 points) by a count of 4-0. The result gives Boston a nice boost in its goal of reaching the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Playoffs, and Sky Blue FC finishes the weekend even with the Washington Freedom (5-8-7, 22 points) in fourth place, which will be the final postseason berth when the regular season concludes in mid-September.
“Boston did a good job of interchanging the roles of certain players tonight, and that really seemed to confuse us,” Sky Blue FC head coach Rick Stainton said. “As a team, we have to do a better job of balancing our defense and competing for every ball. These are challenges that we as coaches, in addition to the players, must accept and take on with complete dedication. We have the pieces here to be successful, but we have to have the internal belief that we can accomplish great things.”
The Breakers came out with an offensive burst in this match, with a few opportunities in the early-going before converting a go-ahead tally in the 9th minute. After a ball was crossed by defender Amy LePeilbet to the right side of the box, a heading attempt from defender Jordan Angeli went bouncing towards the far post. Waiting on the left side of the goal was first-year striker Lauren Cheney, who put a head on the ball and placed it into the back of the net. The notch gave Boston an early advantage, 1-0.
Sky Blue FC created a nice chance in the 27th minute on a play that started off a steal in the back by defender Daphne Koster. After being fed by Koster, midfielder Heather O’Reilly raced down the right sideline until she saw a crease in the Breaker midfield. The UNC product immediately dished a through-ball all the way over to fellow Tar Heel Kendall Fletcher on the left flank, and Fletcher got off a shot after a quick side step. However, Boston goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was there to make the save.
Another opportunity for the visiting side came in the 37th minute. Defender Keeley Dowling tapped a ball from just outside the 18-yard box to Finnish international Laura Kalmari, who then ran onto the feed and struck an attempt just high of the frame.
This match went to a 2-0 deficit for Sky Blue FC in the 41st minute of play. Breaker defender Stephanie Cox delivered free kick to the top of the box where Angeli was waiting on the pass after it briefly touched Cheney. With her back to the goal, Angeli struck a half-volley towards her target. Her attempt was well-placed as it sailed over the head of Branam and into the net.
That 2-0 lead would stand until the two teams broke for halftime.
Boston would need just under five minutes in the second half to increase its advantage to 3-0. On a play that began off a Breaker corner kick, a heading attempt from Angeli was saved by Branam and bounced in the direction of forward Lindsay Tarpley. The Michigan native then needed one touch to strike in the third goal of the evening for the host side.
The final tally of the night came in the 81st minute after a clearing attempt began to roll to the feet of Spanish striker Laura del Rio at the right corner of the 18-yard box. Del Rio then stepped onto the ball and put an immediate strike to it, rifling a shot into the far upper 90 and out of the reach of Branam.
“We must collectively have the belief that we possess what it takes to be successful,” Stainton concluded. “Simply put, we must believe we can do it. We have to trust in one another and believe that we have the tools here to capitalize on our opportunities.”
Sky Blue FC will next return to Yurcak Field on Sunday, August 22nd, to play its regional rival, the Philadelphia Independence. Tickets for that game are on sale now by calling 1-888-SBFC-TIX.