Breakers slam Spirit to keep playoff hopes alive

Jennifer Gordon July 27, 2013 49

The Breakers dismantled the Spirit 5-2 on Saturday. (Photo copyright Linehan Photography for The Equalizer)

BOYDS, Md. — The visiting Boston Breakers downed the Washington Spirit 5-2 thanks to a trio of second half goals Saturday night.  Heather O’Reilly and Rhian Wilkinson each recorded a goal and an assist for the Breakers.

Despite the final score line, the evening started out positively for the Spirit. In the 2nd minute, Diana Matheson scored on a counterattack.  Lindsay Taylor headed away a Boston corner kick to Conny Pohlers, who found Jasmyne Spencer. Spencer charged forward and found Matheson on the left flank and Matheson then tapped the ball into the right corner for the score.

Matheson’s score was the first from the run of play for the Spirit since May 16th.  The Spirit’s lead was short-lived though, as Mariah Nogueira headed in a corner kick from Heather O’Reilly in the 5th minute.

In the 9th minute and again in the 11th minute, the Spirit had opportunities to retake the lead but on each attempt the ball went over the net. The first was taken by Pohlers and the second was taken by Matheson, whose chance came from very short range after a shot by Stephanie Ochs hit the crossbar.

The score remained deadlocked until the 41st minute when Lianne Sanderson finished a difficult attempt. Sanderson’s shot hit the crossbar and then went into the net. Wilkinson was credited with the assist.

After the game Spirit head coach Mark Parsons opined that the game was lost in the first half.

“The damage was done in the first half,” he said.” I don’t think that the crowd would see that or feel that but we were tactically very poor for the first time. I thrive on us being organized, I thrive on us knowing our positions and knowing ourselves and yes, there are a lot of bodies and new changes but that’s not an excuse.  We do too much work behind the scenes to make sure people know their role and they didn’t do it in the first half.”

Two early second half goals killed any chance for a Spirit comeback. In the 48th minute Ashlyn Harris bobbled a save attempt. Wilkinson found the ball and tapped it for the score.

Less than 10 minutes later Boston scored again, this time off an O’Reilly penalty kick. Boston was awarded the penalty after Lindsay Taylor took down Joanna Lohman in the box.

Washington got one back in the 73nd minute. Ochs sent a cross into the box. Och’s cross found Pohlers, who put the ball away for the score.

Boston answered 5 minutes later to reestablish their three-goal lead. A Breakers corner kick bounced around in the box before Cat Whitehill found the back of the net.

The lopsided score line comes as little surprise given the Spirit’s plethora of injuries.  Three of the Spirit’s four would-be starting defenders were out and the fourth, Candace Chapman, went off in 5th minute.  Taylor was used an emergency outside back and Holly King was forced to play center back after Chapman left the field.  Chapman was spotted on crutches and there is no word on severity of her injury.

Parsons praised King and Taylor post game.

“The people that stepped in tonight were maybe the most effective and best players,” Parsons said. “Holly King at center back was absolutely incredible tonight.”

Saturday’s win was crucial for Boston as they look to keep their playoff hopes alive.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen with the rest of these games,” Breakers coach Lisa Cole said. “We’re not in control of a destiny anymore but we are in control of how we perform late in the season and today was a good result for us, especially after going down a goal.”

Washington will face the Western New York Flash next Wednesday at Sahlen’s stadium. Boston’s next opponent is also the Flash. Boston and Western New York Flash will face off next Saturday at Dilboy Stadium.

Boston (6-7-5, 23 pts.) jumps into fifth place with the win, 4 pts. back from the Flash, who currently hold the final playoff spot. The idle Flash now have a game in hand.

  • kernel_thai

    The good news…Washington is playing a much better style under their new coach. They move the ball and set up good scoring chances. It’s still a work in progress and they will need upgrades at several position but at least they see the end of the tunnel is not a cliff. The bad news is they cant stay in games with their defensive players out injured. The team either needs a rabbits foot or an exorcism.

    • Steglitz49

      Don’t worry; be happy. This is the first season and teething troubles are OK. Let’s hope DC get a couple of good games under their belts before it is over. Good as in well played even if lost.

  • AshleyZ

    Holy crap what a crazy game. Washington can actually score, wow. Once again Matheson was their only bright spot – but seriously that defense is sad, everything and anything can get through them. Even with Krieger. Matheson and Krieger can’t do it all by themselves. Hopefully they can inject that team with top quality draft/trades, whatever, anything, next year.
    Nice luck for anyone who chose Leroux on their fantasy team lol, literally everyone scored but her.

    • kernel_thai

      I thought Ochs played well.

  • chugwug

    I know this is a bit off topic, but has anyone noticed that even though the Washington Spirit are performing poorly, they still have amazing fan support. People are attending games and everyone who has interacted with the Spirit players have nothing but nice things to say about them. I know equalizer does an article every so often breaking down NWSL attendance, and usually the Washington Spirit are above 80%. I love to hear fan interaction stories it really shows you how much all of these girls are doing the best they can to make this league work.

    • kernel_thai

      Which is why they need a more competitive team next year. If u dont reward the fans, eventually they will stop coming.

      • Silver Frost

        They’ll be down to Swedish League levels (300 per game) pretty soon.

        • Steglitz49

          Sour grapes?

          • romel dias

            why bring in fruit?

          • Steglitz49

            Nuts!?

          • romel dias

            That i wont argue against…

          • Steglitz49

            Verily and forsooth. Thanks for your support. I will wear it always.

          • romel dias

            wear where?

    • Steglitz49

      DC Ultras? Have they been taking lessons from Marseille and Ajax?

      We must not lose the DC fans dedication and enthusiasm. Keep them sweet, please. Maybe Yuki Ogimi’s hubby could do a sabbatical at Georgetown so she could play for DC?

    • PMT

      The bigger factor is their GM at this point when it comes to the fans. Let’s just say he hasn’t been the most gracious of hosts. The players themselves are pretty great, some better than others. Although, just like the 1st game the Breakers played at the Plex, it was HAO who signed autographs for at least 20 minutes after every other player had left, even the Spirit players. True class act

  • ems09

    Spirit played pretty well in the first half, but it quickly unravelled in the second half. Not sure why Boston had to continue to drive so hard after the third goal. The game was lost after that one. They know all of the Spirit’s defenders are hurt. Bless HAO. She seemed to be the only player to have some mercy and tried at times to slow the speed of play to run the clock.

    I look forward to the moves Washington makes with the trade deadline coming. Right now, no move is too bold. As it stands, the best things about the organization are the pitch and the fans.

    • ctsmith73

      Is goal differential a factor?

      • ems09

        I suppose Boston would argue that, but I can’t imagine it will matter in the end. I would argue that it just doesn’t seem very sporting to continue to exploit a team riddled with injuries.

        • Steglitz49

          Germany did OK in spite of injured players.

          As long as Boston don’t reach the play-offs, all will be well.

          • Silver Frost

            What is wrong with Boston? And why compare the #2 international team with a deep bench, to a last place team with no bench in a new league?

          • Steglitz49

            Boston is a joke and an excuse for a team. The bring the NWSL into disrepute.

            I hope that DC can sort themselves out for next season. This one is lost, obviously. Maybe they could sign Nadine Angerer?

          • Silver Frost

            Boston is in playoff contention, while DC, Chicago, and Seattle are not. Nadine Angerer isn’t leaving Europe.

          • Steglitz49

            Nadine Angere is reputed to be moving to Brisbane. Whether permanently she has not denied.

          • Elaine

            Supposedly after Australia, Angerer will be heading to NWSL next season. But mums on for which team.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. It makes sense. Maybe she will join Ali Krieger at DC. (I doubt that Ms Naeher would want to see her in Boston.)

            Let’s hope Nadine goes to DC and Mrs Ogimi joins in the fun.

          • Steglitz49

            Chicago has 23 pts from 18 games, the same as Boston. Please explain to this bear of little brain why Chicago are not! There may be a reason, though I can’t see it. I hope Chicago makes it ahead of Boston, though neither are likely to, to be fair.

          • Terry lash

            Those are strong words about Boston and the basis for them is not clear. Please explain.

          • ctsmith73

            I hope this is sol parody.

          • Steglitz49

            Where is Sol? Does anyone know what Sol writes about these days? I presume s/he was gated from The Equalizer, which on the whole was a fair decision.

          • ctsmith73

            Release not the Kracken.

          • AnnaY

            Honestly what the heck is your problem with Boston. What even is this comment? Last I checked Boston was a team that can put together good performances and compete with any other team in the NWSL when they’re clicking. Disrepute? How? They don’t play dirty and they treat other players with respect, which you don’t seem to have at all.

          • Wear Nikes Drink Gatorade

            You shouldn’t bother with this person. It’s pretty clear that this doesn’t watch any of the NWSL games, which is why he or she changes the topic to Europe all the time.
            Plus, I doubt he had any issues with Sky Blue’s 5-1 win over Boston earlier in the season.

          • Boston Strong

            Not to mention that Boston actually needs to score a lot of goals to get their GD up… That is the only reason they are ahead of Chicago in the standings. Besides, winning by three goals is not that cruel, it’s not like they won by ten plus.

          • http://partdeuxphoto.tumblr.com/ Meg Linehan

            Nope! I actually went back and looked, out of curiosity. With Santiago riding the bench, the gist of the comment on that post was that Boston deserved to have 5 goals scored on them.

          • Boston Red

            Considering some of Boston’s late game collapses, scoring 5 may have been the only way to guarantee 3 points.

          • Boston Strong

            Ummm excuse me? Why are you hating on Boston? What has Boston done to you or anyone else that is wrong?

    • Steglitz49

      They could always buy Nadine Angerer.

      • Silver Frost

        Why stop there? The DC German fantasy fest should also include Saskia Bartusiak, Leonie Maier, Lena Lotzen, Dzsenifer Marozsán, Célia Okoyino da Mbabi, and Fatmire Bajramaj.

        • Steglitz49

          Angerer saved the penalties. Had Norway put away the first one they would have won. Also if they had sunk the second one.

          Anja Mittag scored their goal.

        • Terry Lash

          Agree, especially about Lotzen. She would bring a good scoring threat to any team in NWSL, and as a young player she might be more interested than well established players.

          • Steglitz49

            Ms Lotzen was subbed. Anja Mittag replaced her. Anja scored the one and only willing goal. I doubt that Ms Lotzen was too concerned at the prize giving ceremony just like I doubt that Ms Iwashimizu bemoaned that red card too loudly.

            Anja Mittag might be cheaper than Ms Lotzen?

          • Terry Lash

            No doubt Mittag would be a welcome addition to most NWSL teams.

          • Steglitz49

            She plays for LdB Malmö in Sweden. Last season she was the top goal-scorer in Damallsvenskan ahead (just) of Christen Press.

            Anja played most of her soccer for Potsdam prior to that, except for one year when she played for a team in Sweden based in a small town best known for hockey and coffee (who about 10 years ago averaged almost 1400 per home game)!

    • hercircumstance

      Boston hasn’t been playing so great so to stay in good form and pushing for goals can set the tone for the future. Spirit showed some life when they took their foot off their throat so they didn’t have much choice. If the Spirit don’t want to be scored on there is room for improvement even with their current roster. Play better. It shouldn’t be on Boston to be nicer.

      • ctsmith73

        I agree. Spirit looked downright dangerous for a good part of this game. They started pushing everyone forward toward the end and paid the price, but they had no choice. Would hate for Boston to lay off the throttle in that situation. Score doesn’t reflect the game, anyway. There was a PK and a fluke mishandling by Harris. Otherwise this is a very close game.

  • SoccerBuff

    On the few plays I saw…………….Ashlyn Harris looked VERY POOR.

    • Silver Frost

      No GK looks good when the back line is a shambles. DC’s defense did well considering all starters were injured/benched.

      • PMT

        And the ball’s soaking wet from a wet field of play. It poured up until 15 minutes before they warmed up.

        • Steglitz49

          Hey! What is wrong with a wet field? Remember 1954!