The Boston Breakers moved back into a first-place tie atop the WPSL Elite table with Saturday’s 2-0 win over the New York Fury in front of 2,117 at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville. Forward Kyah Simon scored two goals, one in each half, to give her a league-best nine goals on the season. With the win, their third straight, the Breakers are now 7-2 and tied for first with the Chicago Red Stars.
"I’m really pleased with the performance," Boston Breakers Head Coach Lisa Cole said. "New York is a great team. They always give us a battle. Earlier this year when we went down to their place, we really took it to them a little bit, and I think kind of caught them by surprise. They weren’t as far along; they had less time together. I knew with time that Paul (Riley) was going to put together a great team and game plan for us."
The game was delayed 45 minutes due to a driving rain and powerful thunderstorm, but once the skies cleared and a double rainbow formed behind the stadium, the Breakers got to work. Both teams came out flying in one of the most fast-paced games of the 2012 WPSL Elite season, one that featured a combined 17 former Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) players in the starting lineup alone.
Saturday’s game marked the Boston Breakers debut of U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Heather O’Reilly, who delighted the sold-out crowd with some dazzling displays, putting a handful of shots on goal, nearly scoring on a few occassions.
"It was fun for me to be able to join the team today. I think the Breakers are a top-notch organization so for me to finally be on the field with the team in an official game was super fun, and we got the win," said O’Reilly, who leaves next month for London to play for the U.S. in the Summer Olympics. "Of course I would’ve liked to have finished one of my chances, but their goalkeeper (Michelle Betos) played a great game, so I give credit to her."
Heather O’Reilly takes on Meg Lenczyk in Saturday’s win. (Photo by Meg Linehan)
On the other side of the ball, O’Reilly’s U.S. teammate, midfielder Tobin Heath, also started and played the full 90 minutes. Heath had a goal called back in the first half due to an offsides call, but she nearly buried one in the second half, buzzing the post to the side of Breakers keeper Alice Binns. Heath herself played the role of keeper in the ninth minute, heading a ball off the line that was chipped in by O’Reilly.
Even before that, the Breakers threatened twice against the Fury. In the first minute, Simon crossed to Katie Schoepfer, who played the ball off her body and redirected it at Betos, but Betos made the save. Two minutes later, O’Reilly sent a ball to her former U.S. National Team midfielder Leslie Osborne, but Osborne’s flick on goal was called offsides.
It took the Fury nealy 20 minutes to threaten. In the 17th minute, Merritt Mathias took a cross from the right side and turned on it to get a shot off on Binns, but Binns made the save, one of eight stops on the night. Seven minutes later, Mathias put another shot on goal.
Amanda DaCosta chases down a ball in the 2-0 win over the New York Fury (Photo by Meg Linehan)
In the 33rd minute, the Breakers nearly got on the board when O’Reilly whipped in a cross to Simon. The Australian striker got a head on the ball, flicking it on goal, but the ball was punched up by Betos, hitting the crossbar before falling back down, where Betos scooped it up. The Breakers kept pressuring, and in the 35th minute made it a 1-0 game on the first of Simon’s two goals. After a scramble for the ball on the edge of the box, Schoepfer came up with it and pushed it over to Simon, who then turned and ripped a shot past Betos for the 1-0 lead.
Kyah Simon scored both Breakers goals vs. the Fury (Photo by Meg Linehan)
The Fury (5-3-1) nearly equalized seconds after Simon’s goal when Megan Lenczyk took a pass from Heath and fired a shot on goal, which was tipped off the crossbar by Binns. Ten minutes later, the Fury threatened again, but this time it was Breakers midfielder Amanda DaCosta who prevented a goal. She cleared a Jasmyne Spencer header off the line in the 45th minute.
O’Reilly had a couple great chances in the early going of the second half. In the 50th minute, she tried chipping it over Betos from 20 yards out, but the ball went just over the bar, and two minutes later, Schoepfer played a great back heel flick to O’Reilly, who took it in on goal, but her shot went just wide of the post. In the 58th minute, DaCosta got in on the action, belting a shot on goal, forcing Betos to tip it over.
The pace of the game slowed down with little action in the final third for either team for the next 12 minutes. Then, in the 71st minute, Heath lasered a shot that flew just a foot wide of the post. Three minutes later, O’Reilly rocketed a shot on goal, which Betos managed to handle. In the 90th minute, O’Reilly beat Betos, but her shot on goal was cleared off the line by Jazmyne Avant. Seconds later, Simon buried her second goal of the game to give the Breakers the 2-0 win.
"I thought it was a very good matchup playing them, and they definitely came here to play. It couldn’t have been a better 50-50 battle out there," Simon said. "Whoever got that step in front, it was up to them to either hold the lead or to let the other team come back. It was definitely a relief to get that goal."
Simon also talked about playing alongside O’Reilly.
"She’s a great player with the dynamic she’s got up there, and the pace and the speed," Simon said. "She’s an all-around great player, and it’s a lesson for me to play with her. I was grateful to play with such a great player out there."
Kyah Simon scores one of her two goals against the Fury (Photo by Meg Linehan)
Shots: Boston 12, New York 11
Shots on goal: Boston 8, New York 8
Saves: Boston: Alice Binns (8); New York: Michelle Betos (6)
Fouls: Boston 9, New York 5
Corners: New York 7, Boston 4
Offsides: Boston 4, New York 3
BOS: Kyah Simon (Katie Schoepfer) 35’
BOS: Simon (Schoepfer) 90’
Boston: Alice Binns, Cat Whitehill, Taryn Hemmings, Elli Reed, Courtney Jones (Julie King, 71’), Leslie Osborne, Bianca D’Agostino, Amanda DaCosta, Heather O’Reilly, Katie Schoepfer, Kyah Simon
Subs not used: Jessica Luscinski, Katherine Donnelly, Furtuna Velaj, Kate Incerto, Emma Thomson
Fury: Michelle Betos, Leigh Ann Robinson, Brittany Taylor (Gina DiMartino, 72’), Nikki Krysik, Estelle Johnson (Salma Tarik, 87’), Kim Yokers, Sinead Farrelly, Tobin Heath, Jasmyne Spencer, Merritt Mathias (Jazmyne Avant, 59’), Megan Lenczyk (Claire Zimmeck, 46’)
Subs not used: none
Kate Incerto, left, congratulates Katie Schoepfer, Heather O'Reilly and Kyah Simon on the win (Photo by Meg Linehan)