Thorns rally to snag 2-2 draw from Breakers in Boston

Dan Lauletta May 19, 2017 54
Rosie White heads in the Breakers' second goal of the night on Friday (photo copyright Linehan Photography for The Equalizer)

Rosie White heads in the Breakers’ second goal of the night on Friday (photo copyright Linehan Photography for The Equalizer)

The Thorns rallied from 2-0 down in Boston on Friday night to eke out a 2-2 draw against the Breakers in front of a season-high 3,321 at Jordan Field. Nadia Nadim scored both Thorns goals—the first from the penalty spot—to offset Breaker goals by Natasha Dowie and Rosie White. The Thorns’ third consecutive draw established a franchise record.

In the first NWSL match this season no played on a Saturday or Sunday, the Breakers emerged on the front foot and carried much of the early possession. But it was the Thorns who created the first significant chance of the opening minutes when Nadim stepped into one at the top of the 18 and forced Breakers’ keeper Abby Smith into a world class save to keep it out of the upper corner in the 24th minute.

The Breakers finally delivered on their territorial advantage, taking advantage of a poor throw-in by Celest Boureille. Adriana Leon jumped the throw-in, left it for Dowie and then took off to the left corner behind Boureille. Dowie one-touched it to Rose Lavelle who played it wide to Leon. Meanwhile Dowie slipped through the penalty area and positioned herself at the far post where she was able to head in Leon’s 38th minute cross for her 3rd goal of the season.

The lead doubled soon after halftime and also began with a throw-in. Julie King delivered a long throw up the right flank that Dowie ran down. After a protracted battle against Meghan Klingenberg she was able to get off a cross. White timed her run well and despite being marked by both Thorns center backs was able to position herself for a clear header that beat a helpless Franch to make it 2-0.

Despite falling behind by a second goal the Thorns began to move quicker both on and off the ball in the 2nd half and created more issues for the Breakers. The pivotal point of the match was in the 56th minute when Lindsey Horan collected the ball in what appeared to be an innocuous position near the left sideline. But she beat King to create space, and then two other Breakers before entering the box and unleashing a would-be cross that Megan Oyster handled to put the Thorns on the spot.

Nadim stepped and up and even as Smith guessed right, beat the keeper for her 3rd of the season in the 57th minute.

The Breakers nearly made it 3-1 a short time later but a great check back by Horan helped keep it 2-1. And the Breakers were rarely able to dictate over the last half hour. The Thorns finally capitalized in the 83rd minute.

Christine Sinclair tracked back near her defensive third and played a ball ahead to Horan. Horan chested it down to Hayley Raso who had space early and then entered the box to take on defenders. As Christen Westphal slid over to help, Raso played a great ball into the vacated space where Nadim was able to finish for her 4th of the season, first from the run of play.

A dangerous looking collision between Franch and Leon in the first half left both players down for a spell and Leon appeared to be bloodied in or near her mouth but both were able to play on.

The Breakers (2-3-1, 7 pts) will follow the Thorns (2-1-3, 9 pts) to Portland where the sides will meet against Providence Park next Saturday night, May 27.

  • guest

    Another disappointing draw for the Breakers. They have the talent to succeed but are falling apart at the end. Maybe Beard needs to deploy a bunker when necessary.

    • mockmook

      “They have the talent to succeed but are falling apart at the end.”

      Do you realize how much of an improvement that is from last year?

      Anyway, they are young and will learn how to put games away — unfortunately, it might not be until next year.

      • guest

        I disagree… there are veteran players on that team. Beard needs to think about an end of game strategy to protect the leads they are getting.

        • Paul Klee

          I think his strategy right now is to keep pressing and score more goals. All the squad needs to do is finish a multitude of chances late in matches. They could have easily got a couple of more vs the Red Stars, and could have had 4 or 5 tonight. But they should probably just bunker. But as a neutral that isn’t as much fun.

        • DNG

          I thought Beard’s tactics were fine for the most part which is not something I thought I’d be saying based on last year. The Breakers were looking for the 3rd to put the game to bed. It didn’t work out but they looked close to getting the third a couple of times. I’m not sure I want the Breakers to completely pack it in after going up 2. They were beaten by a PK(good work from Horan here) and a really nice goal.

          • guest

            Horan was very good in this game.

          • ABCDE

            Horan needs to play in the front.

          • ABCDE

            At least while dealing with their current depleted personnel.

      • Guest

        Both teams are in the playoffs as of today.

        • mockmook

          That’s pretty misleading since Boston has played one game more (at the moment) than other teams in the hunt.

          • TsovLoj

            Correcting for that, on a points per game level Portland makes the cut but Boston doesn’t; PDX is behind NC and Seattle at 1.5, while NJ and Chicago have 1.4 and Boston has 4/3.

        • mockmook

          And, as of today, both teams are out of the playoffs…

      • Breakers fan

        I think you and guest are both right. I like how you acknowledge the positive, the change, while the guest here doesn’t feel that’s worth noting, which I think is wrong – I like how he keeps wanting to push to improve, not rest on laurels, and get wins, but the thrust of his comment is pretty negative and that’s not really painting the big picture accurately.

        That said, there’s no foolproof “strategy to protect the leads they are getting”. Not saying he, Beard, couldn’t do better. For instance, why wasn’t Frisbie brought in, instead of DaCosta, nothing against the latter, but a defender is what was called for there, not a midfielder, in my opinion.

        But, also, credit to Raso and Nadim – tremendous pass and a well-executed finish. That could happen at any point of the game and against good defense.

        • mockmook

          Hey Bf,

          Frisbie was unavailable with some unspecified illness.

          Regardless, I don’t think any sub or subs were the key — just lost “focus” for want of a better term (just like in Chicago).

          Still, 2-2 vs Portland isn’t shabby.

          • Breakers fan

            I did not know that, about Frisbie, so thank you. She’s had a real rough patch of bad luck since joining the team. She missed all the pre-season games and the first few regular season ones and now this. Hope she gets better soon. It was a very good goal by Portland, I feel it could have happened at any time. The pass by Raso was perfect. Westphal’s slide to block the shot was a split second off. I was at the game. The lead was great while they had it. Ending was of course very painful. They really outplayed them and it was basically a 2-1 game with some freAkaZoiD hand-ball thingamabob instant occurring as well.

          • mockmook

            They need to release the Andrews on the NWSL’s “puny” defenders:

            http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1b/6a/3d/1b6a3d82dfab15e06ccd0617aceee619.jpg

            Also, noticed that Haavi is now upgraded to “Doubtful” — perhaps she will be “Questionable” by next week 🙂

          • Breakers fan

            Great image – thank you! Yeah, Andrews….what’s the story there? After getting close to a half of playing time a few games back she’s now sat out 2 complete games. The #3 pick in the draft….not that that means she must be on the field but contrast her to Meghan Cox – an undrafted player getting a full game on Portland’s team. I think it comes down to Beard liking Rosie White a lot. That’s where Andrews would play. But, it’s beyond that, there have been 5 subs in the last 2 games who weren’t her. I don’t like it. She’s someone who has a track record of success everywhere she’s been. She should be given a long look, in my opinion.

            Thanks for the Haavi update – I was unaware of these diagnoses.

          • DNG

            Cox probably wouldn’t be getting any minutes if Portland was anywhere near healthy. Parsons does have a decent record with un-drafted players though. Boureille was undrafted last year. I think the Breakers have most of their player other than Havii right?

          • Breakers fan

            I’ve liked Cox for a few years and promoted her to anyone who would listen. She subbed in last night, as you may know, for Boureille. What defenders of theirs are or were hurt? Portland getting good undrafted players is both a testament to Parsons and just more evidence the pull of Portland. With Cox having Sonnet I’m sure was huge – 2 UVA defenders re-united.

          • DNG

            Reynolds was the starter at RB last year. She’s been out injured

          • Breakers fan

            Will be interesting to see if Cox supplants her, even when she becomes healthy.

          • DNG

            Maybe sometime down the road if she continues to develop and sticks with the team. Don’t think she’s better right now.

          • TsovLoj

            I would be shocked if that happened. Reynolds is the real deal.

          • DNG

            The second goal the Thorns scored is a perfect example of how I think Horan can contribute to USWNT counters even if she’s not leading the line. The ability to bring down a ball and immediately play Raso into space with the minimum amount of touches is something I think the NT could really use.

          • Breakers fan

            Haavi has missed the entire season as you know. Frisbie is ill and has missed half the games. Wiemer has been ill for a few weeks but is reported to be back. I guess that’s it.

          • mockmook

            White seems to be doing very well — in reality, I don’t think I’d mess with the starting line-up — injuries and whatnot will take care of that.

            But, I am also surprised she hasn’t been used more as a sub.

          • Breakers fan

            Agree about Rosie. It is tough to find a spot for Andrews but if you wanted it badly enough you could make it happen and not necessarily remove Rosie. Try Purce at forward for a game If you tried Purce at forward you would give Leon a break, or Dowie (though those 2 have been doing well) and then you would put Rosie or Rose on the side with permission to interchange into the center and Andrews centrally. It could be done. You’d just have to want to do it.

          • mockmook

            Kill two Breakers with one stone — sorta:

            http://drawformation.com/post/592084eab03eb/sm-592084eab03eb.png

          • mockmook

            Aww, crud, forgot White!!!

            Back to my original thought, don’t mess with the line-up unless they go into a slump.

          • Breakers fan

            Purce and Onumonu for a game at forward has its appeal, though again Leon and Dowie have done nothing to really warrant their removal.Making that ‘change” would be a show of faith and goodwill towards the others more so than a critique of the present starters.

          • Underdog

            I disagree. Neither sub did anything to help maintain possession or defensively. In fact, the equalizer build up occurred because Onumonu didn’t track Kling. While Andrews may not have the fitness to go an entire 90 or even half, at least she can maintain possession and help close out a game at the end.

  • mockmook

    Amazing that he glare problem still isn’t resolved when they go “under the lights”

    I wonder if polarizing filters work on the cameras and situation we see there.

    • guest

      sun set not until after 8pm this time of year so even with 7pm start sun still an issue for 1st half. glare did not seem as bad as previous Boston home match – so may have been some sort of filter – but glare still was an issue.

      • mockmook

        I was referring to after sunset, we still had glare from the field lights.

    • Ashley C

      I liked when the commentators were praising an almost through ball from Lavelle to Leon but we couldn’t see much of it with the camera now following the ball.

  • annie

    Oh, Breakers… I am rooting for you so hard.

  • itty bitty roster committee

    when was the last time a team brought 15 players to a match and won? has it ever happened

  • DNG

    This is the 5th game in a row now that I have been underwhelmed with the Thorns attackers. None of the front three are(can) holding up the ball in the A3 or creating in the wide spaces Sinclair has really been pretty ineffective all season. Congrats to Nadim on her brace but her link up play and first touch is shocking at times. Raso and Weber didn’t do much either.

    Was impressed with Chapman, Salem for Boston. Thought Lavelle was pretty good too. Horan was my women of the match though playing a part in both goals scored even if she didn’t get on the score sheet. She also covered a ton of ground tonight. Thorns defenders did not mark well on either goals. I think it was Menges on the second and Klingenberg/Menges on the first. That definitely needs some work.

    • Katie Curtiss

      I agree, the Thorns might also have more chances if Sinclair stayed up top where she should be. I get occasionally that you have to go back to midfield to get a ball but and this goes back many seasons, Sinclair plays the entire field and tires herself out. Based on the games I’ve season, it’s almost like she doesn’t trust her team to get the ball. On the other side of the coin I could see why Sinc thinks she needs to do all that work, you can’t be a great player without other players being great and making plays as well

    • TsovLoj

      Sometime around minute 30 Horan turned on the turbo and never turned it off. I can’t remember the last time I saw her play like that, if ever. I think Sonnett was a bit of an unsung hero last night, though.

      • DNG

        I thought Sonnett was pretty good overall. Still needs to iron out some of her mistakes but I do think she has the tools. I hope Horan take this performance and moves forward with it. I don’t see any reason she can’t be this impactful every time she plays.

    • Lorehead

      Four-and-a-half.

  • Katie Curtiss

    The likes of Elby and Weimer should have been used to start defending and bunkering as the time was winding down and the Breakers lead was cut in half, maybe they could have snuck away with the win

  • Forgedias

    Despite the draw, “Breakersfan” must be happy with the results. The Breakers are improving game by game and its good to see and healthy for the league as a whole.

    Sure our draft system isn’t favored by the rest of the World where the rich get richer but at least it gives the smaller clubs a chance to improve instead of being stomped by the bigger fish every game.

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    • Lorehead

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  • Ashley C

    Maybe Portland wants to be more like United and draw every game.

  • FawcettFan14

    Portland is so lucky their shots/crosses keep hitting the arms of opponents. For all the problems with their offense, they are expert at getting awarded penalties.

  • Chive-on

    I think they should get rid of Ashlyn Harris and replace her with Abby Smith.
    Does anyone know why Long sat? Still haven’t heard anything. She hasn’t been playing all that well imo, ends up too far back for whatever reason. Also still not sure why Heath is still out, I mean, 6 weeks with a back strain? Doesn’t sound that serious to me. Glad someone finally made something of Raso’s efforts, she has been their only spark and works hard every game.

    • mockmook

      “6 weeks with a back strain? Doesn’t sound that serious to me.”

      What sound does a serious back strain make?

      ———–

      Long: hammy strain

    • Timber Dave

      Back problems can persist for months if you don’t get them fully healed. Portland is probably playing it safe with Heath — wisely so.

  • guest

    What happened to Steg Troll? EQ must be getting less than half the clicks/comments it usually does.

  • Guest

    What happened to Meg Morris? Not on injury report and not on game day roster

    • mockmook

      Portland likely brought as few players as possible on this road trip. Expect her to be on the roster in Portland.