- By Katie Peverada
(July 22, 2015) – A goal in the 89th minute Wednesday night was the difference as the league-leading Chicago Red Stars beat the Boston Breakers, 2-1, in front of a season-high 3,403 fans at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium.
The game-winning goal came from the right foot of Christen Press, who fired a shot through traffic from inside the box, moving the Red Stars to 7-1-4 and drop the Breakers to 3-7-3 on the season.
“It’s tough when it happens so late in the game, in the 89th minute. Everyone is leaving it all out there and there’s a lot of people working hard so it’s tough to give one up at the very end like that,” Breakers goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher said.
Boston had tied the game 20 minutes earlier when Stephanie McCaffrey, working down the right side of the field outside the 18-yard-line, floated a ball to the left post. Kyah Simon timed her run and put the ball in the back of the net with her head for the 1-1 tie and her first goal of the season.
“As a striker you always wanted to get a goal, and it was unfortunate to not get the result, which is my main priority,” Simon said. “As happy as I am to score a goal, we didn’t get the result that we wanted, which was disappointing.”
Kyah Simon made her 2015 home debut a memorable one, scoring a goal for the Breakers (Photo By Mike Gridley)
It took a little while for the Breakers offense to get going in the game, but the defense and Naeher stood strong. The Breakers had withheld pressure from the Red Stars early in the game, as the front duo of Alyssa Mautz and Sofia Huerta got going within the first 10 minutes, but the Boston defense did not break.
Naeher, appearing in her first home match since returning from the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, played a big part in stopping the early rushes, coming up big multiple times in the first 20 minutes of the half, including in just the third minute when she slid through traffic to cut off the first Chicago chance.
Naeher charged hard again 30 minutes later, coming off of her line to deflect Huerta’s shot off of her chest to keep the game tied 0-0 in the 33rd.
Despite Naeher’s best efforts, Chicago would ultimately strike first. Arin Gilliland sent a ball in from her spot on the left flank that seemed headed out of bounds before Mautz slid towards the left post to center the ball for Tancredi who back-heeled it in for the 1-0 lead in the 41st minute.
“This was the best I’ve seen her play,” Boston Breakers head coach Tom Durkin assessed of Naeher, who finished the game with seven saves.
In both the 14th and 19th minutes, Naeher’s quick reflexes saved the day for the Breakers. On the first save, Huerta fed Tancredi in the box for a one-timer, but Naeher shot out her left foot for the save. Naeher made a similar save on Huerta just five minutes later to collect two of her fives saves in the first half, which also included a diving save on Huerta in the eighth minute.
Naeher also made key saves in the air within the first couple of Chicago flurries to keep the game close. In the fourth minute, with Chicago’s Vanessa DiBernardo threatening from the 30-yard-line with a free kick, Naeher did well to rise above the crowd in the box and punch it out. In the 24th minute, Naeher again used her vertical prowess to time her jump and snag a rising shot from Michelle Lomnicki that was headed for the back of the net.
Just a minute later, Boston got one of its most dangerous chances of the game when McCaffrey crossed the ball into the box for Simon, but Chicago keeper Michele Dalton was able to get on the end of it and muffle the chance.
Boston’s other offensive opportunities of the first half came from Katie Schoepfer blasting the ball just inches outside the left post in the 21st minute and on a 37th-minute corner when Dalton, who finished with two saves, barely got on the bouncing ball in the box as Simon lined up for a shot.
Both teams were relatively quiet for the first 15 minutes of the second half, with neither team able to put together an offensive effort.
When it seemed like Chicago would go up by two – as Julie King deflected two threatening shots from Huerta and Press in the 61st, and then Naeher had a leaping, one-handed save on a rocket from Press in the 64th – the cylinders of the Boston offense began firing.
“We played well in the second half. It was a complete 180,” said Durkin, adding that, “the passing got quite good.”
Boston switched to a three-forward front in the 82nd minute, and it looked like the Breakers would come out of the game with at least a point. Rafinha, who had come on in the 62nd minute, sent some threatening balls into the box, but none were able to find another Breaker and Press ultimately found the back of the net for the last-minute victory.
Boston nearly took the lead in the 85th when Kristie Mewis took a free kick from 30 yards out, but the knuckling ball ricocheted off of the left post, her second dangerous dead ball of the half.
The Breakers hit the road to take on Sky Blue FC Saturday, July 25, at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J., before returning to host Seattle Reign FC on Saturday, Aug. 1 at 4 p.m. After a road game at Portland on Aug. 5, the Breakers return to Boston for their 2015 regular season home finale, Aug. 8 vs. the Washington Spirit. To purchase tickets, visit www.breakerstickets.com.
Match: Boston Breakers vs. Chicago Red Stars
Date: July 22, 2015
Venue: Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium, Allston, Mass.
Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET
Weather: 82 degrees, sunny
BOS: Alyssa Naeher, Lauren Lazo (Morgan Marlborough, 80), Julie King, Kassey Kallman, Mollie Pathman, Amy Barczuk, Katie Schoepfer (Bia, 62), Maddy Evans (Rafinha, 62), Kristie Mewis, Stephanie McCaffrey, Kyah Simon
Subs not used: Jami Kranich, Stephanie Verdoia, Suzane Pires, Rachel Wood
CHI: Michele Dalton, Samantha Johnson, Michelle Lomnicki (Taryn Hemmings, 56), Julie Johnston, Rachel Quon, Arin Gilliland, Vanessa DiBernardo, Alyssa Mautz (Jen Hoy, 80), Danielle Colaprico, Melissa Tancredi (Christen Press, 59), Sofia Huerta
Subs not used: Karina LeBlanc, Adriana Leon, Abby Erceg, Cara Walls
GOALS 1 2 F
Boston (3-7-3) 0 1 1
Chicago (7-1-4) 1 1 2
Goal Time Team Goal Scorer Assist
1 41 CHI Melissa Tancredi Alyssa Mautz
2 69 BOS Kyah Simon Stephanie McCaffrey
3 89 CHI Christen Press
SHOTS ON GOAL
Referee: Cedric Adams
Assistant Referees: Mark Boyko, Michael Dee
Fourth Official: Matthew Mercier