The Boston Breakers went out in style in their home finale, beating first-place FC Kansas City, 1-0, ending the Blues’ 10-game unbeaten streak. With the win, the Breakers improved to 8-7-6 on the season. Sydney Leroux scored the game-winner, her 11th goal of the season, off an assist from Kyah Simon in the 65th minute to extend Boston’s unbeaten streak to four games. FC Kansas City fell to 11-5-5 and with the loss missed out on securing home field advantage throughout the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) playoffs.
"I have to give a little credit where credit is due. Our assistant coach, Tom Durkin, said a little bit about how we’re going to keep the streak going because a lot of people right now are (saying), ’What are you playing for?’ It’s to get better. And that’s kind of what we told the team. We want to finish strong, and one way to finish strong is to get better now and to keep winning, and we’re doing it," Boston Breakers player/coach Cat Whitehill said. "I’m so proud of this team. To me, Kansas City is playing some of the best soccer in the league, and there’s a chance they’re going to win the championship, and for us to beat every team that is in the playoffs shows that we’re a really good team."
FC Kansas City’s last loss came on June 16, a 3-1 defeat to the Chicago Red Stars at home. The last loss on the road for FC Kansas City was back on June 6, a 4-3 loss at Portland.
In front of a sellout crowd of 2,116 Saturday night at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass., the Breakers broke a scoreless game 20 minutes into the second half when Simon played a ball into the box for Leroux, who then beat FC Kansas City keeper Nicole Barnhart far post for the 1-0 lead. Barnhart had four shutouts in her last six matches coming into Saturday’s game and a league-best 10 on the season. For Simon, it was her third assist on the season. Leroux’s goal puts her in sole possession of second place in the league in scoring as she chases FC Kansas City’s Lauren Holiday for the scoring title. Holiday leads the league with 12 goals.
Breakers keeper Alyssa Naeher kept a clean sheet Saturday night, making two saves on the night. For Naeher, it was her team-high second shutout this year, and she improved her record to 4-1-2. Naeher was tested early, once by Erika Tymrak in in the 11th minute, the other a shot from distance by Kristie Mewis, which Naeher easily collected.
The Breakers had three great scoring opportunities in a six-minute span, all from Simon, but Barnhart came up with big saves on all three attempts - a shot from close range in the 25th, one from outside the box in the 28th minute, and a header off a Heather O’Reilly corner kick in the 31st minute.
FC Kansas City nearly took a 1-0 lead int he 42nd minute when Holiday curled a free kick just over the crossbar from 25 yards out. In the 64th minute, Holiday got around Naeher, who came well off her line, but her shot hit the side of the net. One minute later, the Breakers took the lead for good and held onto it for the final 25 minutes, securing the victory.
The Breakers are now tied with the Western New York Flash for the league lead in goals scored (34) after the Flash drew, 0-0, tonight with Portland Thorns FC. The Breakers are also guaranteed to finish with a .500 record or better with tonight’s win, and with Chicago’s 3-3 draw tonight against Sky Blue FC, the Breakers will finish the season in fifth place in the NWSL table regardless of next weekend’s result.
The Breakers will play their final game of the 2013 NWSL season on Saturday, Aug. 17, against the Western New York Flash at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. Kickoff is slated for 8 p.m. ET and the match will be broadcast nationally on FOX Soccer.
Boston Breakers season tickets are now available for the 2014 NWSL season. Visit www.breakerstickets.com or call 617-945-1704 to catch all of next season’s action, available now until Dec. 1, 2013 at a special discounted price.