Breakers fall to Portland on late goal

The Boston Breakers’ four-game unbeaten streak came to an end Sunday afternoon in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,987 at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass. Portland Thorns FC (9-4-3) got a goal from Meleana Shim in the 86th minute to steal a 2-1 win over the Breakers (5-6-5).

"We got caught again late in the game. They were pressing. We tried pressing to get the win at home. They got an opportunity and took it well. We just need to be a little bit better," Breakers Head Coach Lisa Cole said. "I think on some of our set pieces, we had some good chances. Within the run of play, maybe a couple, but not as many as we would’ve liked."

The Breakers got on the board early when Lianne Sanderson scored her second goal of the season. It came in the 13th minute. Kyah Simon blocked an attempted clearance by Portland’s back line and flicked it to Sanderson, who came in from the right side. Sanderson rocketed a shot past Portland keeper Karina LeBlanc to put the Breakers ahead, 1-0.

Portland countered, but couldn’t convert on two shots on goal in a one-minute span. First, in the 16th minute, Tobin Heath struck from close range, but Breakers keeper Ashley Phillips made a diving stop to prevent the equalizer. One minute later, Portland forward Christine Sinclair half volleyed a shot off the cross bar. Alex Morgan was there for the rebound, but headed the ball over the goal.

The game was relatively quiet for the next few minutes, with each side only getting one good look on goal apiece. Mariah Nogueira had a header saved by LeBlanc in the 22nd minute, while Phillips denied Morgan in the 23rd minute. But moments after getting stopped, Morgan scored the game-tying goal. Nikki Marshall played the ball up to Morgan, who then sidestepped Phillips, who came out to challenge. With Phillips off her line, Morgan slid it into the empty net. From there on out, it was an uneventful first half.

In the second half, the Breakers had an opportunity to take the lead in the 67th minute. Heather O’Reilly played in Sydney Leroux, who then rocketed a shot on goal, but LeBlanc made a diving save. In the 86th minute, Portland scored the game-winner.

"It’s a pretty disheartening loss," captain and defender Cat Whitehill said. "Fortunately we’re playing a lot of (teams) ahead of us, so we can win those games. This is a tough loss for us, but we’ve got a quick turnaround."

The Breakers, currently in sixth place in the league, return to action Wednesday, taking on FC Kansas City on the road (8:35 p.m. ET start) and then travel to play the Washington Spirit Saturday, July 27, at 7 p.m. ET. The next home game for the Breakers is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 3, at 6 p.m. against the Western New York Flash. 

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