Breakers back to winning ways

First shutout helps see off Washington

(June 12, 2014) – It was a pleasing night for the Boston Breakers at Harvard Stadium as they came away with a 2-0 win over the Washington Spirit. Goals came from Katie Schoepfer and Courtney Jones as the Breakers got their third win of the current National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season.

(June 12, 2014) – It was a pleasing night for the Boston Breakers at Harvard Stadium as they came away with a 2-0 win over the Washington Spirit. Goals came from Katie Schoepfer and Courtney Jones as the Breakers got their third win of the current National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season.

Following defeat in the last two games, Boston was out to make a return to the win column against a Washington team that had beaten them 3-2 at Harvard just ten days earlier. The Breakers were without U.S. Women’s National Team midfielders Heather O’Reilly and Kristie Mewis, as well as leading scorer and England forward Lianne Sanderson, due to international call-ups. The Spirit meanwhile had goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris and defender Ali Krieger away with the U.S. squad, while Crystal Dunn, who had also been called up initially, was missing through injury.

Boston’s Schoepfer displayed her willingness to shoot at goal throughout much of the evening and she curled her first attempt just over on 11 minutes. The game was certainly missing that edge in the early part but midfielder Maddy Evans, who was terrific in the win over Portland Thorns, hit one on target from outside the box before heading a Jones corner over the bar.

The Breakers had sent in a succession of crosses and corners without adding the finishing touch and the Spirit’s Yael Averbuch hit one wide from inside the penalty area on 26 minutes. Just under ten minutes later, midfielder Christine Nairn, who scored a free-kick in the last meeting with the Breakers, was wayward with her shot.

As the half began to edge nearer to its conclusion, the Breakers were getting ready to strike a telling blow. Schoepfer took a pass from Jazmine Reeves and switched it onto her left before firing one wide. She would not have to wait much longer to hit the mark though, making no mistake in the 42nd minute as she beat her marker to put away Mollie Pathman’s cross from the left, planting the finish low beyond Chantel Jones. Pathman had jinked her way into the box and Schoepfer’s shot was flashed into the net before Jones had barely got a look at it.

It was Schoepfer’s first of the season in her fifth start and the Breakers were celebrating again almost immediately after. Less than two minutes had passed before Nkem Ezurike slid Reeves’ cross towards goal, and after Chantel Jones denied her she diverted it into the path of Courtney Jones. Scorer against Chicago Red Stars last month, Jones slammed the loose ball into the goal to put Boston into a commanding 2-0 lead. Reeves had the chance to make it 3-0 before half-time but the hat-trick hero against Portland could only shoot wide this time.

Spirit Head Coach Mark Parsons introduced six-goal top scorer Jodie Taylor, who had netted a brace against Boston at the beginning of the month, for Veronica Perez at the interval. It was the Breakers who were to fire the first warning shot of the second half as Schoepfer crashed a vicious effort from around 30 yards against the bar after Ezurike’s lay-off.

English striker Taylor is one of the league’s standout attacking players and she was as lively as ever in this one, collecting a feed from Lindsey to lift over Naeher, though the offside flag was raised. Schoepfer went close again for the Breakers just past the hour, hitting one wide from inside the box, while Nairn tested Naeher from distance as she tried unsuccessfully to catch the Breakers’ keeper off her line.

Before she was replaced by Bianca D’Agostino, Schoepfer had one more attempt, calling Jones into the save after her hit from range. Former Boston player Jordan Angeli then did the same for Washington on a night of numerous comfortable saves for the two keepers.

The Breakers saw it out as the minutes ticked by and Head Coach Tom Durkin could enjoy not only three welcome points but a first shutout of the season at the eleventh time of asking. It was just reward for Naeher who has produced a number of fine displays without a clean sheet to show for it until now.

The win against 3rd-placed Washington takes the Breakers onto 3-8-0 for the season, although they remain bottom of the NWSL at present, a point behind Sky Blue FC but with a game in hand. Boston players, staff and supporters went home happy from Harvard and the Breakers now look forward to hosting leaders Seattle Reign next Thursday (June 19th, kickoff 7 p.m. ET).

The Seattle game will be the last time the Breakers are at home until Sunday, August 3rd (versus Western New York Flash), as a run of seven consecutive away fixtures begins. To make sure you’ll be there for the Seattle clash, purchase your ticket from www.breakerstickets.com or call 617-945-1704.

By Chris Brookes

To veiw full coverage of last night's match, follow the YouTube link below

http://youtu.be/m095i__kbjw

To view highlights from last night's match, follow the YouTube link below

http://youtu.be/0JM-xl0dVoo

 

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