By MC Barrett
The Boston Breakers will play their final game of the 2013 NWSL season when they face off against the Western New York Flash Saturday, Aug. 17, at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y. The match will be broadcast nationally on FOX Soccer, with kickoff slated for 8 p.m. ET.
Sydney Leroux netted the game winner for the Breakers, scoring her 11th goal of the season. It came in the 65th minute off an assist from Kyah Simon. With the win, Boston snapped Kansas City’s 10-game unbeaten streak and held the first-place Blues scoreless for just the third time all season.
Regardless of this weekend’s results, Boston is guaranteed to finish the season in fifth place, narrowly missing out on a spot in the NWSL playoffs. FC Kansas City, Portland Thorns FC, Sky Blue FC, and the Western New York Flash have already clinched their spots in the postseason heading into the final weekend of regular season play. However, the Breakers are far from discouraged and look to close out the inaugural NWSL season with another win.
“Right now a lot of people are [asking] ‘What are you playing for?’ It’s to get better,” said player/coach Cat Whitehill following the Breakers’ win over Kansas City. “We want to finish strong, and one way to finish strong is to get better now, to keep winning.”
The Flash (9-4-8, 35 points) enter this weekend’s match in second place, looking to secure a home playoff game. The Breakers will once again have the opportunity to play spoiler, as a win over the Flash would greatly decrease Western New York’s chances of hosting in the playoffs.
Saturday’s contest also marks the fourth and final meeting between the Breakers and the Flash. Boston holds a 1-0-2 advantage in what has been an incredibly competitive season series with Western New York.
The Breakers opened up the series with a 2-1 victory over the Flash on the road. Heather O’Reilly tallied two goals in the win, later earning NWSL Player of the Week honors for her performance, while Mexico Women’s National Team goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago made her Breakers debut, becoming the youngest player in franchise history to earn a victory in goal in a U.S. professional women’s league at just 18 years of age.
The Breakers and Flash drew even the next meeting, 2-2, with the Flash equalizing on a Jodi-Ann Robinson goal in the last minute of stoppage time. Abby Wambach opened up the scoring in the 28th minute, before Leroux and Lianne Sanderson tallied goals for the home side.
The latest meeting between the teams also ended in a 2-2 draw, behind some late-game heroics from the Flash’s Carli Lloyd. In its first game with Whitehill at the helm, Boston took an early 2-0 lead, with goals from Simon and Sanderson. However Vicki DiMartino scored in the 77th minute to pull the Flash within one, and Lloyd tied the game with a strike in the 85th minute.
While Saturday’s match marks the end of the Boston’s season, tickets are already available for the 2014 NWSL season. Visit www.breakerstickets.com or call 617-945-1704 to purchase Breakers season tickets, available now until Dec. 1, 2013, at a special discounted price.