By Katie Peverada
(May 1, 2016) – It took a set-piece goal late in the game for the Portland Thorns to break a deadlock and get the 1-0 victory over the Boston Breakers Sunday night at Jordan Field in Allston, Mass.
The crowd of 3,698 was treated to a defensive performance, as both teams worked hard to shut down any quality offensive opportunities. Boston’s backline worked together to pull the Thorns offside or force long-distance shots.
Unfortunately for the Breakers, the Thorns finally broke through in the 79th minute after Julie King was whistled for a foul on the edge of the box. Tobin Heath curled the ensuing dead ball to the center of the box where a running Dagny Brynjarsdottir knocked in the header for a 1-0 lead.
Angela Salem tracks down Allie Long in Sunday's loss (Photo by Mike Gridley)
“I’m frustrated because we lost the game to a set play. We were in complete control up until that point. Then all of a sudden the game becomes open and that’s where they start to get a bit of momentum. But we responded well to the goal. We showed a lot of character,” Boston Breakers head coach Matt Beard said.
When Portland did get shots off throughout the game, rookie goalkeeper Abby Smith was there for the Breakers when called upon. Smith was able to time her jump perfectly to grab a long shot from Heath. Smith stepped up again 10 minutes later when she smothered a pass high in the box and again in the 40th minute when she braved a collision and beat Brynjarsdottir to the ball in the air.
It was Smith, starting in place of the injured Libby Stout, who kept the game locked at zero with her reads and reactions during a short span in the second half. First, she charged out and blocked an in-close Heath shot with her body. It was a minute later that she leapt to her left and snared a Heath back-heal destined for the net. She followed that up 10 minutes later when Meghan Klingenberg hit a line drive from 25 yards out. Smith stretched to her left and parried the ball out for the save of the game.
“Abby coming in was fantastic. For a player out of college to start your first game against a team like the Portland Thorns and to play the way that she did today, I was very pleased with her,” said Beard.
Smith finished with four saves on 12 Portland shots, five of which were on goal.
The Boston offense was not stagnant, forcing Adrianna Franch to make some saves of her own. The Portland keeper finished with four saves on 11 shots, seven of which were on goal.
Stephanie McCaffrey worked well down the left side of the 18 in the first half. One run resulted in a shot that curled wide of the Portland net while another ended in a cross to the far post that Kyah Simon nearly put away with her head. McCaffrey almost broke through again in the 34th when Kristie Mewis flicked the ball to McCaffrey running through the backline, but her ensuing touch went too far ahead.
Mewis herself had a near miss in the 42nd minute when she ripped a ball just over the crossbar from 20 yards out.
“We just need that bit of luck. I think we created some good chances today,” Beard said. “The pleasing thing is that we’ve worked a goalkeeper on good chances.”
King used her head to direct a Louise Schillgard cross to the net in the 74th minute, but Franch answered with a reactionary save.
McCaffrey had Boston’s best chance of the game off of a corner just three minutes into the half. Angela Salem drove in a corner and the ball eventually bounced to McCaffrey, whose left-footed ball struck the crossbar.
Despite the loss, Beard and Smith were pleased with the upkeep of the Breakers.
“We’re obviously bummed with the result, but I think we really did take it to them,” Smith said. “We had our chances and we have a lot to build on from this game. I’m looking forward to next week.”
“It’s just a matter of time,” Beard added. “Once we get a win, we’re going to go on a good run.”
The Breakers remain in Boston for their next match and will take on the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, May 7, at 7 p.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased by calling 617-945-1704 or by visiting www.breakerstickets.com.
Notes: Tonight marked the professional debut of goalkeeper Abby Smith. The former University of Texas star started and made four saves in first game … With their appearances tonight, both Kristie Mewis and Kyah Simon made their 40th appearances in a Breakers uniform … Defender Kassey Kallman earned her 40th professional appearance a week ago against Seattle. After tonight, Kallman has now appeared in 25 consecutive games, playing ever minute of those matches (2,250) … Defender Julie King made her 73rd appearance for the Breakers, pulling to within three of tying Angela Hucles for fourth all-time in franchise history.
Match: Boston Breakers vs. Portland Thorns FC
Date: May 1, 2016
Venue: Jordan Field, Allston, Mass.
Kickoff: 5 p.m. ET
Weather: 52 degrees, cloudy
BOS: Abby Smith, Julie King, Kassey Kallman, Whitney Engen (C), Mollie Pathman, McCall Zerboni, Angela Salem (Rachel Wood, 83), Kristie Mewis, Louise Schillgard, Stephanie McCaffrey (Brittany Ratcliffe, 83), Kyah Simon
Subs not used: Libby Stout, Brooke Elby, Christen Westphal, Morgan Marlborough
POR: Adrianna Franch, Katherine Reynolds, Emily Sonnett, Emily Menges, Meghan Klingenberg, Allie Long, Lindsey Horan, Mana Shim (Hayley Raso, 66), Dagny Brynjarsdottir, Tobin Heath (C), Nadia Nadim (Meg Morris, 83)
Subs not used: Michelle Betos, Celeste Boureille, McKenzie Berryhill
GOALS 1 2 F
Boston (0-3-0) 0 0 0
Portland (2-0-1) 0 1 1
Goal Time Team Goal Scorer Assist
1 79 POR Dagny Brynjarsdottir Tobin Heath
SHOTS ON GOAL
BOS: Louise Schillgard (caution, 38’)
BOS: Julie King (caution, 78’)
BOS: Brittany Ratcliffe (caution, 90’)
Referee: Brandon Artis
Assistant Referees: Alicia Messer, Maggie Short
Fourth Official: Kali Langevin