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Boston Breakers

Prince Strike, Missed Chances End Boston’s Undefeated Streak

Nichelle Prince scored the lone goal and Boston was left ruing missed chances as the Houston Dash defeated the Boston Breakers 1-0 in Houston.

Carli Lloyd returned from her red card suspension for the Dash, while Matt Beard went to his bench and tried to shake things up for Boston, giving Margaret Purce and Katie Stengel starts and leaving Natasha Dowie as a second-half sub. It was Boston who came out strong first and proved soccer is a game of inches as a few early opportunities could have changed the story.

In the 7th minute, Rosie White came flying unmarked into the box for a point-blank header, forcing goalkeeper Jane Campbell into a one-handed save that just pushed the ball over the crossbar. Five minutes later, Adriana Leon received the ball from Purce with plenty of space on the left side of the box. She got the shot off before Poliana could recover, firing it over Campbell’s head to ricochet off the crossbar and out of the goal.

After that, the game settled down, and Houston found more possession. In the 23rd minute, Andressinha passed the ball up the middle of the park to Prince, catching the Boston defense in transition. She pulled away from Allysha Chapman, who tripped and fell, and slipped the ball past Abby Smith despite the keeper’s attempts to close down the angle.

Boston nearly responded a few minutes later when Leon sent a low cross across the face of goal, but Stengel missed what would have been an easy toe poke into an open net by mere inches.

The second half picked up where it left off. Houston had the bulk of the possession, with Lloyd putting in a strong shift as she won balls and sprung her teammates on the attack. Meanwhile, Boston attempted to catch Houston’s defense in transition.

In the 54th minute, Prince carried the ball up the field and fed Rachel Daly, who broke free of her defenders inside the box. However, her first touch let her down, allowing Smith to come off her line and deflect the ball before Daly could get the shot off.

Boston tried to fight their way back into the game and enjoyed a brief spell of possession, ending in nice buildup in which Tiffany Weimer passed to Purce, who got a quick shot off inside the box and forced Campbell into an excellent reaction save. The game was soon back on the other end, as Lloyd dribbled into space on top of the box and let rip with a right-footed rocket from 25 yards out. Smith had to echo Campbell’s earlier save and push it over the crossbar for a corner.

Boston never really could get back into the game after that. Houston did a good job of keeping the ball in their attacking half, winding down the clock and forcing Smith into a few more saves. The matched ended with Prince’s strike as the only one on the scoreboard.

Houston jumped Orlando to take sixth place in the standings, extending their undefeated streak to six matches. They travel to Portland after the international break. Boston remains in eighth place and hosts FC Kansas City in their next match.

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