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Boston start home win streak with Reign shutout

The Boston Breakers celebrate Natasha Dowie's first half strike against Sky Blue FC. (LINEHAN PHOTOGRAPHY/Equalizer Soccer)

The Boston Breakers improved to 2-1-0 for the season after defeating the Seattle Reign, 3-0. Canadian-international Adriana Leon led the Breakers for the night, scoring the game-winning goal and assisting on the other two. 

Both Boston and Seattle came into the night’s match on the heels of big wins at home last weekend. Seattle defeated the Houston Dash, 5-1, while Boston defeated Sky Blue 1-0. Although Seattle enjoyed a bigger win score-wise last week, Boston’s win against Sky Blue was bigger morale-wise, and it showed in the way the Breakers came out against Seattle. From the opening whistle, they were quick on the attack and eager to pester the Reign defense.

It’s little surprise, then, that Boston struck first and struck relatively early. Leon put Boston on the board in just the 11th minute after receiving a cross from Natasha Dowie. Reign defender Merritt Mathias fell while trying to intercept the ball, and Leon dribbled around her and another defender before putting the ball past Reign keeper Haley Kopmeyer for the match’s opening goal.

Leon then assisted on Boston’s second goal when she played Rose Lavelle in the Breaker’s final third. Lavelle just beat defender Kristen McNabb to the ball, knocking her to the ground, and fired off a shot past Kopmeyer to extend the Breakers’ lead. It was the first goal of Lavelle’s professional career and the first time since August 2015 that Boston led a match 2-0.

The Reign came out of halftime looking for a quick goal to get back into the game, and they had two near chances in the opening minutes of the second half. The first was when Megan Rapinoe sent a dangerous cross into the box, only to have it cleared out by Breakers defender Christen Westphal for a Reign corner kick. Rapinoe took the corner and the Reign nearly scored off the set piece, but the timing was off and Beverly Yanez was unable to get her foot on the ball.

Natasha Dowie scored the second goal in as many games in the 52nd minute on a play that started with a build up of Breakers possession. Leon received the ball and flicked it high to Dowie, who had slipped behind the Reign defense and into space. Kopmeyer chose to stay on her line, allowing Dowie to line up the shot she wanted, which she blasted past Kopmeyer for the Breakers’ third and final goal of the night.

Ironically, although the goals were all Boston, Seattle had the majority of possession and outshot the Breakers. However, the Reign put a number of shots off target and netminder Abby Smith had a number of impressive saves, especially in the second half, to earn the second shutout of the season.

With the win, the Breakers (2-1-0, 6 pts) tie with Portland for second place in NWSL standings, while Seattle (1-1-1, 4 pts) has fallen to fifth. It is worth noting that the current standings are incomplete, however, as Sky Blue and FC Kansas City play tomorrow.

Next week the Reign travel to Portland on Saturday, May 6 to take on the Thorns in the season’s first installment of the Cascadia rivalry. Boston plays host to the North Carolina Courage, the league’s only remaining undefeated team, on Sunday, May 7.


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