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Flash 7-1 Breakers: McDonald hat trick keys rout

Jess McDonald scored the first hat trick of the NWSL season to lead the Western New York Flash in a 7-1 pasting of the Boston Breakers. McDonald and Lynn Williams both had two goals at halftime and McDonald finished her hat trick in the opening minutes of the second. The seven goals matches the league record set by the 2014 Portland Thorns. Flash coach Paul Riley was also the coach of that Thorns side.

The Flash went ahead in the 19th minute through Williams. Makenzy Doniak played a ball over the top and Williams got behind the defense. She made a clever touch to lose a backtracking Julie King and then beat Jami Kranich to make it 1-0. They doubled the lead on 28 minutes after a prolonged period of attacking the Breakers goal. The final passes were a service into the box that Sam Mewis laid off for McDonald to hammer past Kranich.

The Breakers got their one highlight in the 38th minute when first round pick Christen Westphal lofted a ball from the corner of the penalty box that caught Flash keeper Katelyn Rowland off guard and nestled in the back of the net. Westphal’s goal, her first in NWSL, was also the Breakers’ first from open play all season.

The good times lasted 78 seconds until the Flash unleashed three goals in the final seven minutes of the half. Doniak found McDonald deep on the right side for a cross that Williams finished in front for her league-leading fifth of the season to make it 3-1 in the 39th minute. McDonald was on both ends of the fourth goal in the 43rd minute. McDonald played a switching ball to Doniak who found Mewis and then Elizabeth Eddy on a deep overlap. Eddy’s cross found McDonald streaking into the box for 4-1. Not done yet though, the Flash made it 5-1 in first half stoppage time when Doniak got behind a flatfooted Breakers defense to collect a ball from Mewis.

The second half started no better for the Breakers. A poor goal kick by Kranich turned the ball over and a beautiful long ball by Abby Dahlkemper found Jaelene Hinkle who crossed for McDonald’s hat trick goal. Second half sub Taylor Smith finished the scoring with an individual effort and shot.

The Flash (6-4-0, 18 pts) won four the fourth time in five games and moved to third place. They trail the Red Stars on the head-to-head tiebreak and also host the Red Stars in a week’s time. The Breakers (1-8-1, 4 pts), almost certain to miss the playoffs a fourth straight season, are in Seattle on Saturday, July 2.

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