By Katie Peverada
(April 24, 2016) – The Seattle Reign scored twice in the first half and once in the second, spoiling Boston’s home opener Sunday night with a 3-0 victory in front of a near sellout crowd of 3,743 at Jordan Field in Allston, Mass.
The Breakers got the first quality offensive opportunity of the game. It came when Stephanie McCaffrey dangerously cut across the top of the box but pushed her shot wide early in the match.
The first Seattle goal was the result of the work of Kim Little. After a 10th-minute throw-in, Jess Fishlock fed Little up the middle and she quickly found Manon Melis at the top of the box, and with her first touch, Melis chipped the ball over goalkeeper Libby Stout’s head. Little also assisted on Seattle’s second goal of the game – before netting one of her own in the second half – when her 39th-minute corner from the left side of the field found Rachel Corsie’s head for the 2-0 lead.
“It’s frustrating because the first two goals were definitely preventable. One was off a throw-in and the second of course was a set play,” said Boston Breakers head coach Matt Beard.
Seattle’s 79th-minute goal put a cap on the scoring. The Breakers found themselves chasing Beverly Yanez to the side of the box, creating space for a the ball to Little’s feet and a subsequent shot and goal.
In Boston’s defensive end, Stout finished with two saves on 10 shots and five shots on goal, making several nice reads on corners – throwing her body into the Reign – and saves – including a diving stop on a point-blank shot from Corsie in the 85th minute – to give Boston a chance to find the equalizer.
“I think anyone watching the game tonight would say 3-nil was a harsh reflection on us but if you don’t take your chances then you’re always liable to let one in,” said Beard.
The Breakers didn’t disappoint the crowd of 3,743, though, as the Boston contingent continued to try and solve the Seattle defense, anchored by U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Hope Solo. In the final 15 minutes of the first half, Boston generated some continuity on offense out of the back and continued the threats into the first 25 minutes of the second half.
Boston’s best chance of the first 45 minutes came in the 43rd minute when it was able to work the ball past the midfield line whereupon Kyah Simon sent in a long ball that found McCaffrey with a clear view of goal at the top of the Seattle box. Despite controlling the feed, McCaffrey’s shot found the hands of Solo, who finished with three saves on 11 Boston shots, three of which were on goal.
Defender Julie King and rookie Brittney Ratcliffe – who proved to be a productive combination – worked the ball down the flank in the 36th minute but Ratcliffe’s cross to the far post ultimately met the head of a Seattle defender.
King had some scoring chances of her own throughout the game, as her header in the 37th was tracking for the net before finding a Seattle defender and her left-footed volley in the 66th minute deflected off the crossbar.
“We just weren’t taking enough risks going forward,” Beard felt of the first half performance, but saw promise in the team’s second half efforts.
And Boston’s best offensive opportunity of the game came in the 53rd minute on the foot of Kristie Mewis via Simon. From deep in the Boston zone, Simon found Mewis with a beautiful ball over the top and sent her in one-on-one against Solo. Mewis’ shot, though, ended up being pushed to the right of Solo and to the right of the post.
It was only 10 minutes later that Mewis returned the favor, lofting a ball to the box for Simon to control amongst two Seattle defenders. Simon’s shot went just over the crossbar.
“I think we proved in that 25-minute period in the second half that we can beat anyone on our day,” Beard said. “We just have to be a little bit more composed and relaxed in front of goal.”
The Breakers remain in Boston for their next match and will take on Portland Thorns FC Sunday, May 1, at 5 p.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased by calling 617-945-1704 or by visiting www.breakerstickets.com.
Notes: Tonight marked the first professional start for Brittany Ratcliffe, who was selected by the Breakers in the 2016 NWSL College Draft. The former Virginia star played 66 minutes, giving way to Morgan Marlborough. Ratcliffe had two shots on the night, one of which hit the crossbar … Louise Schillgard was a late scratch from the starting lineup due to a minor injury picked up during the pre-game and was replaced by Ratcliffe … Defender Julie King made her 72nd appearance for the Breakers, pulling to within three of tying Angela Hucles for fourth all-time in franchise history.
Match: Boston Breakers vs. Seattle Reign FC
Date: April 24, 2016
Venue: Jordan Field, Allston, Mass.
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 54 degrees, sunny
BOS: Libby Stout, Julie King (Christen Westphal, 79), Kassey Kallman, Whitney Engen (C), Mollie Pathman, McCall Zerboni (Stephanie Verdoia, 81), Angela Salem, Kristie Mewis, Brittany Ratfliffe (Morgan Marlborough, 67), Stephanie McCaffrey, Kyah Simon
Subs not used: Abby Smith, Rachel Wood, Katie Schoepfer, Brooke Elby
SEA: Hope Solo, Carson Pickett, Lauren Barnes, Rachel Corsie, Kendall Fletcher; Keelin Winters, Kim Little, Jess Fishlock (Elli Reed, 41); Bev Yanez, Merritt Mathias, Manon Melis (Kiersten Dallstream)
Subs not used: Haley Kopmeyer, Andi Tostanoski, Michelle Cruz, Havana Solaun
GOALS 1 2 F
Boston (0-2-0) 0 0 0
Seattle (1-1-0) 2 1 3
Goal Time Team Goal Scorer Assist
1 10 SEA Manon Melis Kim Little
2 39 SEA Rachel Corsie Kim Little
3 79 SEA Kim Little Beverly Yanez
SHOTS ON GOAL
SEA: Hope Solo (caution, 50’)
BOS: Brittany Ratcliffe (caution, 60’)
BOS: McCall Zerboni (caution, 81’)
Referee: Matthew Franz
Assistant Referees: Tom Felice, Kevin Broadley
Fourth Official: Kali Langevin