(June 7, 2014) – The Boston Breakers came up short in their third away game of the 2014 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season as they were defeated, 2-0, by FC Kansas City. Both goals came via the penalty spot, and it was former Breakers midfielder Lauren Holiday who did the damage with both in the first half. The Breakers fall to 2-8-0 with the loss and prop up the table after their first 10 games.
Breakers Head Coach Tom Durkin made three changes to his starting team after the 3-2 defeat at home to Washington Spirit last Sunday. Jazmyne Avant, Ashley Grove, and Bianca D’Agostino replaced Nikki Washington, Joanna Lohman, and Katie Schoepfer as Durkin looked to find the first win on the road at the third attempt.
It was Boston midfielder Heather O’Reilly who looked the most likely source of a goal in the opening exchanges and she sent a dangerous low ball across the face of goal on eight minutes. FCKC keeper Nicole Barnhart just about dealt with that and five minutes later her team had an opportunity from the penalty spot.
Lianne Sanderson avoids the oncoming rush of FC Kansas City's Jen Buczkowski in Saturday night's defeat
The league’s joint-leading scorer Amy Rodriguez looked to take on Julie King on the edge of the box and after she went down the referee blew for the foul, handing a chance to Holiday from 12 yards. She faced up against Breakers keeper Alyssa Naeher and she made no mistake, stroking the ball home as Naeher guessed the wrong way.
A series of attempted attacks from both sides were broken down in the minutes that followed but Boston did manage an attempt at goal just past the half-hour mark. Lianne Sanderson’s right-footed in-swinging corner was headed into the ground by O’Reilly and Barnhart was there to block.
On 35 minutes, the home side moved into a two-goal advantage, ultimately via the same route as their opener. This time, it was Erika Tymrak who won the penalty, twisting and turning and going to ground under pressure from Avant. The referee decided an infringement had occurred, despite the protests from the Breakers, and Holiday had her chance for a second.
Holiday moved onto five NWSL goals for the season as she opted to switch sides from her first penalty. Naeher also changed her mind from the opening kick and the result was the same – a goal for the Blues. Kristie Mewis and Lisa De Vanna both worked at fashioning opportunities, but neither could breach the Kansas City backline and the score was 2-0 at halftime.
Five minutes into the second half, FCKC were close to a third as Holiday took a pass from Tymrak and fired one across the goal but just wide of the far post. Rodriguez then hit a 25-yarder that whistled wide after she had turned away from Sanderson. The ex-Breakers forward tried her luck again soon after, feeding off a pass from Jenna Richmond and firing wide from the left side of the area.
Amy LePeilbet, a popular Breakers defender back in Women’s Professional Soccer, entered the action on 63 minutes, making her second appearance back after sitting out the 2013 season through injury. LePeilbet was involved in a couple of attacking surges for the Blues but the home team were largely sitting back and inviting the Breakers to try to break them down.
An effort from Sanderson over the bar from outside the area came on 81 minutes, before King saw her header cleared off the line by Merritt Mathias off a Sanderson corner. With five minutes remaining, Rodriguez escaped for a chance on goal but she was off target with her clipped attempt. Substitute Nkem Ezurike had the Breakers’ last opportunity on 89 minutes, hitting one over the bar which was given as a goal-kick despite the claims for a corner.
FCKC looked like they would add a third in stoppage time as Rodriguez went racing clear but Naeher stood up to the test and impressively kept her out twice. The final whistle blew soon after as the Blues secured a third shutout in succession, condemning the Breakers to a second straight loss and eighth overall from their first ten games.
The Breakers are back in action at home Wednesday, June 11, as the Washington Spirit return to Harvard Stadium. The game will begin at 7 p.m. ET and you can purchase tickets from www.breakerstickets.com or by calling 617-945-1704.