By Anthony Giallongo
(June 17, 2016) - Coming off a 1-1 draw last week against the Washington Spirit at home, the Boston Breakers (1-6-1) travel to Chicago hoping to build on their streak as they take on the Chicago Red Stars (4-1-3) at Toyota Park (8 p.m. ET kickoff) in Bridgeview, IL.
Last weekend, the Breakers held onto a tight, 1-1 draw against the Washington Spirit in front of a season-high crowd of 4,007 at Jordan Field in Allston, Mass. After conceding an early goal in the 13th minute, the Breakers responded well, tying the game up two minutes later off a penalty kick taken by Louise Schillgard. The goal was her first in the NWSL. The draw marked two consecutive home games without a loss for the Breakers.
Kyah Simon heads it clear in Boston's last meeting against Chicago
“There are plenty of positives to take. I thought defensively we were very good. I thought we had some good chances going forward," Boston Breakers head coach Matt Beard said. "I said to the players this week in training, I'm starting to see players individually improving."
The Breakers now look to Chicago, hoping to record their second win of the season on Saturday. The Chicago Red Stars come into Saturday atop the NWSL table. This is the second and final meeting the Breakers will have with the Red Stars this season, previously falling, 1-0, at home on May 7, 2016.
The first meeting back in May occurred in the fourth week of the regular season. The Breakers played stingy defense in the first half, but a second-half goal by Christen Press led the Red Stars to victory. Former Breaker Alyssa Naeher earned her third shutout in that game. The Breakers came as close as one can get when Kristie Mewis saw her penalty kick hit the post. The Breakers will look to prove they can best the Red Stars in their second matchup of 2016 Saturday night.
“We had a close game with Chicago here, so we can take confidence from that,” Beard said. "They're organized as a team. Obviously they've been picking results up. Christen Press is a real threat. We've got to make sure that we stop Christen from getting opportunities. We can take positives from our performance here (against Chicago) and we had a good performance against Kansas and against Washington. We've got to expect to turn up to games and pick points up."
The Breakers are 1-7-1 against the Red Stars in NWSL play, however, their history goes beyond just the inaugural NWSL season in 2013. Going back to 2009, the Breakers and Red Stars both played in Women’s Professional Soccer and later, Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite.
Chicago enters Saturday night coming off a 1-1 draw against the third-place Portland Thorns. The Red Stars have become reliant on Press as she leads the NWSL in goals, shots, and shots on goal.
Following Saturday's game against Chicago, Boston will travel to Rochester, N.Y. to take on the now second-place Western New York Flash on Friday, June 24, at 7 p.m. ET before continuing their road trip in Seattle to take on the Reign (Saturday, July 2, at 10 p.m. ET).
The Breakers return to Boston July 17 (5 p.m. ET) to play Sky Blue FC. Tickets to all Breakers home games can be purchased by calling 617-945-1704 or by visiting breakerstickets.com
Game notes by Natalie Ellard