The Boston Breakers inched closer to being eliminated from playoff contention with a 1-2 loss to the Western New York Flash on Wednesday in Rochester. Sky Blue FC currently sits in the fourth and final playoff spot despite losing 3-2 to magicJack on Wednesday. Sky Blue FC (5-7-4, 19 pts.) is three points clear of Boston (4-8-4, 16 pts.).
Wednesday night was eerily similar to that rainy, dreary evening in Rochester on May 13 when the Flash defeated Boston 3-2. That night featured downpours, goalkeeping errors and a tale of two halves from both teams. Wednesday night was no different, with, at times, some questionable goalkeeping from both teams in a match that saw Boston come out flat in the first half before turning things around in the second, only to fall short.
“We just had a tough season,” Breakers Head Coach Tony DiCicco said. “I haven’t been able to get Kelly Smith and Lauren Cheney on the field together. They are both injured; they are getting a half each…I’m pleased with the second half but I’m not pleased with the whole game.”
Western New York went up early when Christine Sinclair tucked a left footed shot inside the far post in the 21st minute. Marta played Sinclair in behind the defense and the Canadian finished the shot for her league-leading 10th goal of the season.
Becky Edwards doubled the lead for the Flash seven minutes later thanks in large part to some curious goalkeeping. Ali Riley sent in a cross from the left flank that found Edwards, but her redirected header was a floater toward goal. Breakers goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher looked like she stumbled on the goal line and couldn’t react quickly enough to make a save.
Boston made it interesting almost immediately in the second half when Keelin Winters chipped Flash goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to cut the Flash lead in half less than two minutes into the half. Six minutes later, halftime substitute Kelly Smith chipped Harris looking for the exact same upper corner, but Harris punched the wet ball of the crossbar and averted danger.
The Flash held on to grab the three points and tie the Philadelphia Independence atop the WPS table with 33 pts. Western New York still has a game in hand on Philadelphia with 10 days left in the regular season.
“I thought we played some of our best football this season in the first half,” Flash Head Coach Aaran Lines said. “It was a tale of two halves. We just played very well in the first half and just scored two wonderful goals and then the second half we conceded early and they had the momentum. We panicked.”
Sky Blue FC 2-3 magicJack:
Player/coach Abby Wambach gave magicJack an early lead in just the fifth minute. Sky Blue FC forward Eniola Aluko equalized in the 56th minute on a ball from Heather O’Reilly.
Wambach scored again to put magicJack ahead in the 77th minute before Aluko scored again in the 84th to tie the game at 2-2. But magicJack would have the last laugh. Megan Rapinoe headed in a cross from Lisa De Vanna just two minutes later for the game-winner. Check out video of that goal below. The video was taken by Geoff Solomon.
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