In front of 2,026 fans Friday night at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass., the Boston Breakers won their fifth straight game, beating ASA Chesapeake Charge, 3-1.
On a night when the Breakers honored U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Heather O’Reilly with a sendoff celebration before she heads to the Olympics, O’Reilly assisted on the opening goal of the night and the eventual game-winner as the Breakers went on to defeat ASA Chesapeake Charge, 3-1, in front of 2,026 fans Friday at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville. The win improves Boston’s record to 9-2 and moves the team into sole possession of first place in WPSL Elite.
"I think it was a good professional win, a team win. We had to play some different players so we could keep players healthy and rested for tomorrow. But at the same time, we wanted to get the result today," Boston Breakers Head Coach Lisa Cole said. "Overall, I was pleased with the result. I was pleased and happy to send HAO (Heather O’Reilly) to the Olympics with a win, and I’m happy to see Melissa Henderson back out on the field."
Henderson, seeing her first action since May 26, scored Boston’s third goal of the night, off an assist from Katherine Donnelly, her second assist of the season. For Henderson, it was her first goal in a Breakers uniform.
"It’s always great to come away with a win," Henderson said. "It’s awesome to get back out their on the pitch, especially with the talented girls on this team. I’m very thankful and blessed to put that in the back (of the net), and as soon as I did, I was so relieved."
Melissa Henderson takes on Chesapeake’s Jess Hnatiuk (Photo by Meg Linehan)
The Breakers opened the scoring in the 16th minute. It began with O’Reilly, who breezed down the left side and past a couple of Charge defenders before taking it into the corner and crossing it to Kyah Simon. The Australian striker then buried O’Reilly’s cross past Charge keeper Erin Quinn to make it a 1-0 game. For Simon, it was her league-leading 11th goal of the season.
The Charge (1-8-2) didn’t back down and put a good amount of pressure on Breakers keeper Alejandra Velasco in her first start of the season. In the 27th minute, Velasco was forced to cut off a cross from Shannon Collins that could’ve created danger, and four minutes later, Velasco stopped a hard strike by Charge forward Ashley Spivey.
On the other end of the field, the Breakers peppered Quinn with one shot after another, hitting six shots at the keeper in the first half. Quinn denied Simon, Henderson, and Katie Schoepfer all within a 10-minute span late in the first half.
The Charge wasted little time in the second half leveling the score. Two minutes in, Cheyenne Skidmore took a pass from Spivey and had some space out on the right side. She went in one-on-one with Velasco, who came out to challenge Skidmore, before lining a shot into the goal to make it a 1-1 game.
The Breakers responded six minutes later. Jones played a short corner to O’Reilly, who promptly sent it right back to Jones. The rookie out of the University of North Carolina had some room, saw an opening, and drilled a shot from distance that beat keeper Lyndse Hokansen for her first goal of the year. Now leading 2-1, the Breakers got some more breathing room in the 71st minute when Henderson scored her first goal of 2012.
The Breakers have no time to rest. In less than 24 hours, the team travels west to East Longmeadow, Mass., to take on the New England Mutiny at 6 p.m. at East Longmeadow High School. The first times these two teams met, the Breakers came away with a hard-fought, 4-2 win at home.
At halftime of Friday’s game, fans gave O’Reilly a standing ovation as she accepted a bouquet of flowers before speaking to the sold-out crowd. O’Reilly, who will soon head off to London with the U.S. to compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, thanked the fans, "for making Boston feel like home for me," and telling them, "you guys are the best."
Heather O’Reilly during the halftime ceremony of her sendoff match Friday night (Photos by Meg Linehan)
Shots: Boston 14, Charge 11
Shots on goal: Boston 11, Charge 7
Saves: Charge: Erin Quinn (5), Lyndse Hokansen (3); Boston: Alejandra Velasco (6)
Fouls: Charge 3, Boston 2
Corners: Boston 6, Charge 2
Offsides: Charge 1, Boston 0
BOS: Kyah Simon (Heather O’Reilly) 16’
CHARGE: Cheyenne Skidmore (Ashley Spivey) 47’
BOS: Courtney Jones (O’Reilly) 53’
BOS: Melissa Henderson (Katherine Donnelly) 71’
Boston: Alejandra Velasco, Taryn Hemmings (Cat Whitehill, 70’), Elli Reed (Katherine Donnelly, 46’), Julie King, Courtney Jones, Leslie Osborne, Tameka Butt (Emma Thomson, 85’), Melissa Henderson, Heather O’Reilly (Veronica Napoli, 80’), Katie Schoepfer (Bianca D’Agostino, 46’), Kyah Simon (Jess Luscinski, 46’)
Subs not used: Alice Binns, Furtuna Velaj, Kate Incerto
Charge: Erin Quinn (Lyndse Hokansen, 45’), Shannon Collins, Jennifer Gillette, Jessica Hnatiuk, Amanda Lebo, Riley Barger, Caylin Dudley, Ashley Spivey, Brittany Hadaway, Nicole Clark, Cheyenne Skidmore
Subs not used: Marisa Kresge, Nia Walcott, Sophia Read, Nicole Wojcik