Persistance certainly paid off for the Breakers. In front of a sold-out crowd of 2,634 at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, the Breakers got a goal in the 91st minute by Sydney Leroux to earn a 1-1 draw with the Washington Spirit in their National Women’s Soccer League debut.
Persistance certainly paid off for the Breakers. In front of a sold-out crowd of 2,634 at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville Sunday night, the Breakers got a goal in the 91st minute by Sydney Leroux to earn a 1-1 draw with the Washington Spirit in their National Women’s Soccer League debut.
"I was happy we were able to keep fighting and at least get into a position where we could take a point from this game," Breakers Head Coach Lisa Cole said. "It’s unfortunate to not take all three points at home, but Washington held us off after getting the early goal. We have some early season kinks to work out, so hopefully we’ll be on the scoreboard more often."
After falling behind, 1-0, in the 15th minute on a goal by Washington forward Tiffany McCarty, a header off a cross from Ingrid Stephanie Ochs, the Breakers kept the pressure on from there on out, and Leroux, off an assist from Libby Guess, beat Washington keeper Ashlyn Harris far post for the equalizer.
"Goals aren’t going to come easy. You have to keep fighting and going at it," Leroux said. "I think we needed that. We needed to come out with a point at home."
Sydney Leroux is broken up by Ali Krieger in Sunday’s 1-1 tie (Photo by Mike Gridley)
The Breakers had numerous chances early with Heather O’Reilly linking up with Leroux and Kyah Simon, but a packed in Washington back line frustrated the Breakers. In the ninth minute, Lianne Sanderson played Simon out wide with a great ball, but Simon was a step offside. After Washington’s goal six minutes later, the Breakers laid on the pressure.
In the 25th minute, a sharp cross by O’Reilly went just wide of Simon out on the wing. One minute later, O’Reilly tried chipping Harris, but Harris backpedaled in time to snag the ball before it crossed the line. Simon nearly leveled the match in the 31st minute, but her shot was tipped out by Harris. Of the six shots the Breakers took in the first half, they put three on goal.
Lianne Sanderson cuts through two defenders (Photo by Mike Gridley)
Spirit midfielder and Canadian international Diana Matheson rocketed a shot from distance in the 36th minute, but it sailed wide to the left of Breakers keeper Ashley Phillips, who was playing in her first professional game since 2010. Phillips finished the game with three saves.
"I felt good about my performance. Obviously I was a little bit nervous coming in, just getting back into things, but overall, once the team settled down, they (Spirit) didn’t quite as many opportunities," Phillips said. "Coming away with a point was awesome for us. We did have a lot of chances that we couldn’t put away, so I’m glad we did finally open those gates up. Once we settled in, we looked good. We can play as a soccer team, and this will be a start to that, now that we’ve got the first game jitters out of the way."
The Breakers came out in the second half much like the first, putting pressure on Washington, but similar to her performance in the first half, Harris was relentless. She stopped a crafty little flick by Simon just a few yards away from goal in the 54th minute. One minute later, O’Reilly hit a cracking shot on goal, one that knocked Harris back, but Harris still managed to stop the shot. Two minutes later, Leroux played it back to Joanna Lohman, who had a good look on goal from distance, but her shot was blocked at the top of the box.
Katie Schoepfer goes on the attack (Photo by Mike Gridley)
The Spirit turned around and made a run at the Breakers in the 59th minute. Stephanie Ochs put a shot on goal, destined for the back of the net, but Phillips came up with a massive stop. Phillips made a pair of big saves in the 63rd minute, one off a shot by McCarty, the second from Ochs. The Breakers made a huge push in the final 15 minutes of the game, beginning with a shot from close range by Katie Schoepfer, one that Harris managed to handle. Leroux had a shot stopped in the 86th minute, just five minutes before scoring the game-tying goal and ending the match in a draw.
The Breakers are on the road Saturday (April 20) to take on FC Kansas City.
Shots: Boston 9, Washington 6
Shots on goal: Boston 7, Washington 4
Saves: Washington: Ashlyn Harris (7); Boston Ashley Phillips (3)
Corners: Washington 4, Boston 3
Offsides: Boston 1, Washington 1
Cautions: Boston: none; Washington: Ingrid Wells
Fouls: Boston 2; Washington 1
WAS: Tiffany McCarty (Stephanie Ochs) 15’
BOS: Sydney Leroux (Libby Guess) 91’
Washington: Ashlyn Harris, Kika Toulouse, Robyn Gayle, Ali Krieger, Lori Lindsey, Diana Matheson, Julia Roberts, Ingrid Wells (Domenica Hodak 80’), Tori Huster, Tiffany McCarty (Caroline Miller 85’), Stephanie Ochs
Subs not used: Jasmyne Spencer, Chantel Jones, Teresa Worbis, Candace Chapman, Colleen Williams
Boston: Ashley Phillips, Jo Dragotta (Lisa-Marie Woods 86’), Cat Whitehill, Kia McNeill, Rhian Wilkinson, Heather O’Reilly, Joanna Lohman, Kyah Simon (Libby Guess 75’), Katie Schoepfer, Lianne Sanderson, Sydney Leroux
Subs not used: Cecilia Santiago, Mariah Noguiera, Adriana Leon, Kate Howarth, Julie King