(May 29, 2014) – The wait for the Boston Breakers’ second victory of the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season is over after a 4-1 success at home to the Portland Thorns. The 2013 champions were comfortably dispatched of with forward Jazmine Reeves stealing the show with a hat-trick and an assist on a great night for the Breakers at Harvard Stadium.
May 29, 2014 – The wait for the Boston Breakers’ second victory of the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season is over after a 4-1 success at home to the Portland Thorns. The 2013 champions were comfortably dispatched of with forward Jazmine Reeves stealing the show with a hat-trick and an assist on a great night for the Breakers at Harvard Stadium.
Jazmine Reeves had a standout performance with a hat trick in the 4-1 win over Portland (Photo By Mike Gridley)
Heading into the match on the back of four losses in succession, Boston improved to 2-6-0 with a superb team effort to support the virtuoso display of Reeves. The 22-year-old former Virginia Tech standout supplied the opening goal of the evening with a cross from the right to find fellow rookie Nkem Ezurike who tapped in at the back post in the second minute. Ezurike was a recent call-up to the Canada squad and she notched her first professional goal with this strike.
Breakers Head Coach Tom Durkin had surprised many by ringing the changes for the game, opting to rest established figures Heather O’Reilly, Lianne Sanderson, Kristie Mewis and Joanna Lohman in the midst of three games in a week. Durkin made seven changes in total from the side that lost 2-0 to FC Kansas City on Wednesday, and he was to prove vindicated as his team swept Portland (4-3-2) with authority.
The Thorns’ five-goal top scorer Jess McDonald came close to levelling on 16 minutes but Alyssa Naeher made a crucial stop. Reeves was a danger all night and she scored her first nine minutes later, stabbing the rebound past Nadine Angerer after a purposeful run into the box and shot from Courtney Jones. Reeves and Jones were involved again just before the half-hour mark as the latter seized on a through-ball from Reeves to run through on goal before shooting over.
Portland remained a threat at 2-0 down and a well-executed corner routine saw two players dummy before Amber Brooks struck a shot that was blocked. Allie Long lifted a deep corner to Christine Sinclair at the back post but the Canada captain’s header was tipped over by Naeher. On 42 minutes, the Thorns were down to ten and would soon be three goals behind. Defender Kat Tarr lost possession to Ezurike and with the 22-year-old through on goal she dragged her down, receiving a straight red for the foul. Boston went 3-0 up shortly before half-time as Jones led the charge forward before sliding a perfectly-weighted pass for the unmarked Reeves. Taking it into the box, Reeves kept her composure to lift the finish high into the goal beyond Angerer. The half concluded with Germany captain Angerer handling outside her penalty area and being called for the free-kick, but curiously escaping a card.
It was to get even better for the Breakers on 59 minutes and it was the star of the show who completed a fantastic hat-trick. Reeves chested down a terrific pass from the impressive Maddy Evans and once inside the box she cut back onto her left foot before firing a shot that had FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Angerer grasping at thin air. It was a wonderful moment for a player who had yet to score a professional goal prior to this game.
Two minutes later, Portland got on the scoresheet and it was Sinclair who reduced the arrears. Surprisingly without a goal in her first eight games of the season, she took a loose touch on the edge of the area that found its way back to her via a lay-off from Long as she was challenged. Sinclair drilled a right-footed strike into the bottom corner to bring it back to 4-1.
Reeves was out for more in a relentless performance and racing through again, she was met by Angerer who came way out of the box to successfully challenge and clear while on the ground. O’Reilly and Sanderson both could have added their names to the scorers after coming on. Sanderson fired wide from a cut-back by O’Reilly, who brought a diving stop from Angerer in the closing minutes. Long had been denied for Portland on 84 minutes after an intelligent pass from Sinclair but the night belonged to the Breakers and in particular, Reeves. The result is Portland’s first defeat on the road since their 2-1 defeat to the Breakers on August 7th.
The home action continues for the Breakers this Sunday as the Washington Spirit come to Harvard Stadium (kickoff 6.30 p.m.). You can purchase tickets for the game by visiting www.breakerstickets.com or by calling 617-945-1704.
- By Chris Brookes