Breakers hit the road to face familiar foe Western New York

(May 1, 2015) - The Boston Breakers and Western New York Flash are certainly no strangers, having played against each other since 2011. Saturday night in Rochester, the rivalry is renewed, and the Breakers come into the match fresh off their first win of the season, a 3-2 victory against the Houston Dash.

Before nearly 2,400 fans at Soldiers Field Soccer Stadium on the campus of Harvard University Sunday night, the Breakers made their debut on their new stadium grounds one to remember. Goals by Julie King and Nkem Ezurike followed by an own goal by Houston’s Carli Lloyd with less than 20 minutes remaining in the match gave the Breakers their first win of the season, coming two weeks after a season-opening defeat to Portland.

Nkem Ezurike scored her first goal of the season in Sunday's win vs. Houston (Photo By Mike Gridley)

“I think it was really big for the team,” Boston Breakers head coach Tom Durkin said of Sunday’s win. “They really invested as a group together. They dug in together. I think the team spirit and morale increased quite a bit, so I’m quite pleased for them to see that hard work pays off. At the end of the day, soccer-wise, we still can play much better, but I think over the long run, it was a result they really worked hard to grind out. It was a tremendous performance, and they’re a little looser now, which is nice to see.”

The Breakers (1-1-0) land in Rochester to face a Western New York side in search of its first win of the season. The match kicks off at 7 p.m. ET (WATCH LIVE). The Flash (0-2-0) opened the 2015 campaign with consecutive losses, both on the road: 5-1 at Seattle on April 12 and 1-0 at Portland on April 18. Despite the slow start by the Flash, the Breakers know they have a lot to contend with in a team that features U.S. Women’s National Team forward Sydney Leroux and defender Whitney Engen as well as veteran defender Brittany Taylor, midfielder Becky Edwards, and former Breakers midfielder Jordan Angeli, who scored the club’s lone goal this season.

The Flash have some similarities to the Breakers, Durkin noted. They feature several young players who have the ability to make an impact, including midfielders Samantha Mewis and Abby Dahlkemper, defender Jaelene Hinkle, and Canadian goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo.

“I think they’re going to be a good team. Like us, they’re young. They need a little bit of time to gel. They need a good sequence of games,” Durkin said. “They are fortunate like we were coming into the Houston game that they had two weeks to get ready for this match. They have really strong, young players. They have pace up front. I think it’s going to be a good test for us on the road.”

Like the Flash, the Breakers bring plenty of young talent to the field, including forward Stephanie McCaffrey, who currently leads the team in points after scoring on her debut against Portland and adding an assist in the win over Houston. Captain and 22-year-old defender Kassey Kallman anchors Boston’s back line, and in the midfield, the young talent continues with Brazilians Rafinha and Suzane Pires, and 2015 NWSL College Draft pick Stephanie Verdoia. The Breakers certainly don’t lack a veteran presence on the field, and it starts in the back with U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who has eight saves this season. It continues through the midfield with Katie Schoepfer and Kristie Mewis. Up top, second-year players Ezurike and Morgan Marlborough are a constant threat to opposing defenses.

Kassey Kallman congratulates Alyssa Naeher after Boston's win Sunday (Photo By Mike Gridley)

BREAKERS AT WNY GAME NOTES

Following Saturday’s game at Western New York, the Breakers visit Chicago (May 9) before returning home for three straight games: May 16 vs. Portland, May 22 vs. Sky Blue FC, and May 30 vs. FC Kansas City. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.breakerstickets.com or by calling 617-945-1704.

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