Breakers beat Houston Dash in home opener

(April 26, 2015) – The Boston Breakers opened up their home schedule in style, beating the Houston Dash, 3-2, in front of 2,376 fans at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium on the campus of Harvard University.

“It was a huge turnaround confidence-wise. They battled,” Boston Breakers head coach Tom Durkin said. “Getting control of our nerves was a big problem in Portland (a 4-1 loss April 11). We didn’t settle in until we were down 2-nil. Kudos to the girls today because the spirit was really good. We’re a really young team, but I really like this team. I have a lot of confidence that this group of players is going to come together, they’re going to gel. We just need time with them.”

The Breakers (1-1-0, 3 points) jumped out to a 2-0 lead 30 minutes into the match, putting pressure on Houston’s back line early and often. In the eighth minute, after Rafinha sent a corner kick into the box, the ball ping ponged off several players in front of Houston keeper Bianca Henninger before King knocked it in for her first of the year, making it a 1-0 game. Kristie Mewis nearly doubled the lead in the 23rd minute, gathering the ball at the top of the 18 before hitting a ball that went across the box and out for a goal kick.

Julie King scoring the first goal of the match in a 3-2 win over Houston (Photo By Mike Gridley)

Seven minutes later Nkem Ezurike tallied her first goal of the season. It all began when Stephanie McCaffrey burst down the left flank and then into the box before sliding it to Ezurike, who scored to give the Breakers a 2-0 lead.

Houston gained steam and got one back in the 35th minute when Jessica McDonald scored the first of her two goals on the night. Kealia Ohai sent in a cross from the left side and McDonald headed it past Breakers keeper Alyssa Naeher, cutting Houston’s deficit to 2-1. The Dash came close to tying the match in the 45th minute had it not been for a massive save by Naeher, who stopped a well-hit ball by Morgan Brian.

The Dash (1-1-1, 4 points) leveled the match in the 68th minute when McDonald just beat Naeher to ball at the top of the box as Naeher came well off her line to try and clear it. McDonald chipped it past Naeher to tie the game at two apiece.

The Breakers took the lead for good, getting the game-winner off an own goal in the 72nd minute. Mewis sent a free kick from 25 yards out to the far post. Kassey Kallman got a head on it, as did King, but as the ball came toward ground, Carll Lloyd knocked it into her own goal.

The Breakers held on for the final 20 minutes, getting another huge save from Naeher. This time, the U.S. Women’s National Team keeper came out to challenge Melissa Henderson and timed it perfectly, sliding to make a save on the former Breaker in the 75th minute.

“We saw them play. We studied the tapes of their home game and their away game, and they looked really good,” Durkin said of the Dash. “They won convincingly at home and drew on the road, and they had no problem coming back and drawing. They’re very strong up front, and any midfield with Carli Lloyd in it is a good midfield. We know what Morgan Brian can do. So we felt out best matchup was our frontrunners against their two center backs. We know Steph (McCaffrey) has good breakaway speed, so we knew that would be a good matchup.”

The Breakers hit the road for a pair of games, beginning Saturday, May 2 against the Western New York Flash and then Saturday, May 9 at the Chicago Red Stars. They return home for a three-game stretch: Saturday, May 16 vs. Portland Thorns FC (4 p.m.), Friday, May 22 vs. Sky Blue FC (7 p.m.), and Sunday, May 30 vs. FC Kansas City (7 p.m.).

Tickets to all Boston Breakers home games are available by visiting www.breakerstickets.com or by calling 617-945-1704.

Notes … Sunday marked the 30th professional appearances by both Amy Barczuk and Maddy Evans, whose 30 caps have all come with the Breakers … Stephanie Verdoia made her professional debut tonight, getting her first start and first appearance. She played 58 minutes on her debut … Stephanie McCaffrey's assist was the first of her professional career.

MATCH REPORT

Match: Boston Breakers vs. Houston Dash

Date: April 26, 2015

Venue: Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium, Allston, Mass.

Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET

Attendance: 2,376

Weather: 50 degrees, sunny

Lineups

BOS: Alyssa Naeher, Mollie Pathman, Kassey Kallman (c), Maddy Evans, Amy Barczuk, Stephanie Verdoia (Katie Schoepfer 58’), Rafinha (Suzane Pires 65’), Kristie Mewis, Nkem Ezurike (Morgan Marlborough 74’) Stephanie McCaffrey

Subs not used: Jami Kranich, Bia, Ketlen, Rachel Wood

HOU: Bianca Henninger, Ella Masar, Niki Cross, Stephanie Ochs (Carleigh Williams 19’, Stephanie Roche 80’), Meghan Klingenberg, Carli Lloyd, Rachael Axon, Morgan Brian, Tiffany McCarty (Melissa Henderson 69’), Jessica McDonald, Kealia Ohai

Subs not used: Ashley Nick, Megan Kinneman

GOALS                       1         2         F

Boston Breakers        2          1        3

Houston Dash            1          1        2 

SCORING SUMMARY

Goal    Time   Team           Goal Scorer                  Assist

1          8         Boston         Julie King                  

2          31       Boston          Nkem Ezurike           Stephanie McCaffrey              

3          65       Houston        Jessica McDonald           Kealia Ohai                 

4          68       Houston         Jessica McDonald         Morgan Brian

5          72       Boston            OG (Carli Lloyd)

Disciplinary Summary

HOU: Niki Cross (caution) 44

BOS: Maddy Evans (caution) 55

HOU: Stephanie Roche (caution) 90

Referee: Danielle Chesky

Assistant Referees: Ian McKay, Michael Dee

Fourth Official: Randall Kelley

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

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