The Boston Breakers (3-4-3) and FC Gold Pride (3-5-3) settled for a draw on Wednesday night at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The visitors pounced early in the 15th minute when striker Christine Sinclair drilled her shot into the upper right-hand corner of the net from well outside the penalty area, past Breakers’ backup keeper Allison Lipsher. The Breakers would respond in the second half, when substitute forward Jennie Nobis headed the ball into the far corner past a stunned Nicole Barnhart.
Both teams remain deadlocked for fourth place, with 12 points each.
The Breakers started the evening off on shaky ground, still smarting from the 0-1 defeat at the hands of St. Louis Athletica on Sunday night. For the first 20 minutes, FC Gold Pride stepped in right where Eniola Aluko and Athletica left off, threatening early in the 3rd minute. Sinclair had a good opportunity to put one past Lipsher, courtesy of some miscommunication with Boston defender Heather Mitts.
But the Canadian would not miss again 12 minutes later. With midfielder Stacy Bishop and defender Alex Scott nowhere to be found, Sinclair sent a rocket past Lipsher to bring a one-goal advantage to the visiting side. And Sinclair wouldn’t let up, pressing hard again in the 18th, only to hit it into the side netting.
The Breakers settled into their defensive footing, with impressive performances straight off the bench from defender Candace Chapman and midfielder Kasey Moore, both of whom received the starting nod. What was far less impressive, though, was the team’s lackluster offense. Midfielders Angela Hucles and Kristine Lilly had difficulty connecting to either Rodriguez or Latham up top, oftentimes forced to play the ball back to start their attack from the defensive line. In the first half, it was hard to find Rodriguez, who was chronically out of position, involved in any effective offensive play. Latham, back from her two-game suspension, was well covered by Gold Pride’s defenders.
The second half saw divine intervention for the Breakers, with key substitutions made before the whistle blew: WUSA veteran Nancy Augustyniak-Goffi replaced Stacy Bishop, which moved Alex Scott to the midfield, and goal scorer Nobis replaced Latham. With these changes made, the Breakers played fast and hard for the first time all evening, finally challenging instead of chasing.
“We would have liked to have gotten a win. We saw the worst and the best in this team,” said Breakers head coach Tony DiCicco, pointing out the vast differences in his team between halves. “It’s a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde story. It was really disappointing in the first half, and then they came out and showed how good they really can be.”
Most notable was the instant chemistry between Hucles and Scott in the midfield. When Rodriguez was sprung loose in the 55th minute after technical, tight passing between the two, it was inevitable Boston’s own A-Rod would score for the first time all season. But instead of chipping it over Barnhart’s head, she held the ball too long and was forced to send in a cross for Nobis who duffed it, resulting in an easy save for the Gold Pride keeper.
But Nobis would not miss her second chance of the night. Kelly Smith came on for defender Chapman in the 61st minute, loading up with midfield with five players. She would be the one to take the corner kick in the 76th that led to Nobis’s goal. Smith sent her cross to the forward standing at the far post, who headed it into the opposite corner.
Lilly would have the best chance before the final whistle. In the 80th minute, Smith sent a pass right to Lilly’s feet. The captain hit it hard but high, deflecting off the crossbar.
Angela Tavares, Goal.com
For more on Women’s Professional Soccer, go to Goal.com’s women’s soccer page.