The highly anticipated game between two former-WPS teams did not disappoint. In a match that saw a lot of changes in control throughout the 90 minutes, the Boston Breakers came out on top with a 3-2 win over the Western New York Flash (2011 WPS Champions). The Breakers lone goal scorer of the night was Katie Schoepfer (33’, 54’, 67’), who scored her fourth, fifth and sixth goals of the season. The Flash got goals from Angela Salem (49’) and Adriana (82’). The Breakers were able to get a lead and hold onto it in front of their second straight sell-out crowd of 2,342 at Dilboy Stadium in Somerville, Mass.
Western New York Flash had complete control of the game at the start. In the 7th minute, Adriana crossed to McCall Zerboni, who had a great chance to score but fired her shot right at Breakers’ keeper, Alice Binns. The Flash continued to put on the pressure with a shot from Adriana in the 11th minute, but again, right at Binns. Although the Flash maintained most of the possession in the opening minutes of the match and had many chances, they had trouble finishing those chances. Breakers’ coach Lisa Cole was disappointed in the start of the game.
“It’s been interesting, our starts, I’ve been really pleased with our first half starts, until this game,” Cole said. “I thought they were the better team in the first 10, 15 minutes, and we kind of weathered the storm, and got the goal and had some good play.”
In the 33rd minute, Boston got on the scoreboard. Kyah Simon took a shot from the left side that was deflected by the Flash, but Schoepfer was able to pick it up and score her fourth goal of the season and put the Breakers ahead 1-0. The rest of the half had a lot of back and forth play, with both teams having chances in front of goal, but the score remained 1-0 into halftime.
The Breakers again started the second half slowly, which has become a trend this season.
“We haven’t been good in our second half starts, so it’s been something that we’ve been focused on, and we obviously didn’t find the solution today,” Cole said.
The slow start from Boston, and aggressive play from the Flash led to the Flash’s equalizer. In the 49th minute, Adriana passed the ball through a hole in Boston’s defense to a striking Salem, who put the shot away to tie the game.
Boston, not happy with the slow start to the second half, answered back with a couple goals of their own. In the 54th minute, Schoepfer got a pass out to Simon who was tripped up in the penalty box on a breakaway leading to a PK. Schoepfer buried the PK to go up 2-1. Simon and Schoepfer again worked together on Schoepfer’s third goal of the game. While Simon was bringing the ball back to the middle of the field, she passed off to Schoepfer who finished it off with a toe poke past Western New York’s keeper, Allison Lipsher, to put the Breakers ahead 3-1.
“My teammates did most of the work. The ball was just landing for me in the right spot. Two of them were all Kyah’s [Simon] work, and I just was there to finish it off,” Schopefer said of her hat trick.
“Shep’s always been a big finisher,” Cole said. “That’s her unique quality. In the offseason, she’s put a lot of time into her fitness and developing her game, but when she gets in front of goal, I think she’s very dangerous.”
The Flash was not ready to give up, however, and continued to put the pressure on Boston’s defense and keeper. After many fantastic saves from Binns (most of which were point blank shots from Adriana), the Flash was able to pull back within one when Adriana found a loose ball in the box and put it in the back of the net.
The play from keeper Alice Binns kept the Breakers in this game.
“Alice has been fantastic for us,” Cole said. “She’s a big save type of goalkeeper. She’s focused. She stays tuned in on the ball and has good reactions. She kept us in the game.”
BInns’ play was also appreciated by her defenders.
“Alice played an amazing game today and she saved us, and I’m very proud of her,” Boston defender Cat Whitehill said. “She came out with confidence and I’m just glad that we were able to get the ‘W,’” Cole said.
The Breakers are now 4-0, and in first place in the early stages of the 2012 WPSL Elite season, and are proud of what they’ve accomplished so far.
“It was a little nerve wracking at the end,” Cole said. “We knew the game was going to be a good one. They have good players, and we have a set of good players. I think we were lucky to get up 3-1, and they made it interesting there at the end, but I was proud of what the girls were able to accomplish, especially coming off the game on Wednesday.”
Schoepfer, whose six goals now leads the WPSL Elite League, said that each game has been different so far.
“I think it’s a sign of a good team that we’ve won in many different ways,” she said. “We’ve had blowouts, we’ve had teams that were a lot more physical. We’ve had teams that were a lot more organized. Figuring out how the Flash played after the first half, we kind of talked it out, and we were able to make the adjustments we needed to make and go out there and take it to them.”
Boston will go for their fifth win on Friday, June 1 in their rematch with FC Indiana, at IUPUI Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind.
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