(June 20, 2014) – Facing unbeaten National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) leaders Seattle Reign, the Boston Breakers came away with a 2-0 loss at home on Thursday evening. Beverly Goebel and one-time Breakers player Keelin Winters did the damage and inflicted a sixth defeat at Harvard Stadium this season on Boston.
Having been beaten 3-0 away by Seattle in their first game of the campaign back in April, the Breakers were looking to make amends. Tom Durkin’s team were hoping to move off the foot of the table with a victory but their plans were dealt a blow in only the second minute. Mariah Nogueira, one of numerous former Boston players on the Reign team, got the better of Joanna Lohman and lifted a pass into the penalty area for Goebel. An ever-present with 12 starts this term, Goebel managed to get across Cat Whitehill and send a right-footer beyond Alyssa Naeher and into the far corner with just 92 seconds on the clock.
Seattle were missing a clutch of big names due to international call-ups and Boston had to do without Lianne Sanderson, Heather O’Reilly and Kristie Mewis for the same reason. The Reign’s strength in depth was evident however and their replacement for U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo was called into action on 17 minutes. Katie Schoepfer, scorer in the Breakers’ 2-0 home win over Washington Spirit, won a free-kick around 25 yards from goal. Courtney Jones, also on target in that Spirit game, stepped up and curled an effort that was seemingly tipped onto the crossbar by keeper Haley Kopmeyer.
Laura Harvey’s Seattle moved into a two-goal lead after 25 minutes and it was one of those erstwhile Breakers players who was responsible. Japan forward Nahomi Kawasumi delivered an outswinging corner that found Winters in space 15 yards out and the captain headed low towards goal. With Danielle Foxhoven in front of her, Naeher could not keep the attempt out as it crawled over the line.
Ten minutes before the break, Boston could have halved the deficit. Mollie Pathman picked out Jones from the left but she headed high and wide when she should have been celebrating her third goal of the season. Nkem Ezurike was next to try her luck but her header was also misdirected and Seattle took the advantage into half-time.
With nine wins and two draws to their name, the Reign were full of belief, even with the likes of the league’s top scorer (11) Kim Little missing. They started the second period with an attempt from Kawasumi that ended off target. Goebel, the NWSL leader for assists (four), tried some improvisation with twenty minutes to go, flicking a cross from Kiersten Dallstream goalwards but into the grasp of Naeher.
Pathman tested the reflexes of Kopmeyer as she struck a left-footer that forced the 23-year-old to push the shot away at full stretch. As time ebbed away, defender Julie King, praised strongly by her coach Durkin after the win over Washington, had her header cleared off the line from Jones’ corner.
The Breakers tried to carve out opportunities to get them on the scoresheet but Seattle held firm to improve to 10-0-2. In the process, Boston fell to 3-9-0, remaining in last place in the NWSL heading into a stretch of seven away games in a row.
Keep track of all the action on the live YouTube stream this Sunday (kickoff 1 p.m.) as the Breakers head to Yurcak Field, in Piscataway, N.J. to take on Sky Blue FC for the third time in 2014. Boston will return to Harvard Stadium on Sunday, August 3, against Western New York Flash (kickoff 6.30 p.m.). You can purchase your tickets from www.breakerstickets.com or by calling 617-945-1704.
By Chris Brookes