CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Boston Breakers (3-2-2) and Washington Freedom (1-2-3) played an entertaining and fast-paced game which ended 1-1 Sunday evening at Harvard Stadium in Cambridge.
Boston needed an early second-half goal from defender Alex Scott to tie the game after the Freedom’s Rebecca Moros opened the scoring in the first half. Moros scored via a brillant through ball from teammate Lisa De Vanna whose pace caused problems for the Breakers defense throughout the first half.
Early on, the Freedom players, competing without star forward Abby Wambach due to a one-game suspension, were making the right runs as the team utilized forward Lisa De Vanna’s pace. De Vanna’s work caused the Breakers to make several defensive adjustments. The forward had several shots in the first half, her first coming in the sixth minute of play. Boston goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill made the save.
From the 30th minute until the end of the half, both teams played end-to-end with De Vanna thriving in this environment. She made a smart run in the 30th minute. De Vanna dribbled left but as she neared goal the forward shot back towards the right of goal. Only an out-stretched stop from Luckenbill prevented the Australian from scoring.
In the 33rd, De Vanna’s pace proved too much as she again took possession deep into the Breakers’ attacking third. As two defenders converged on her, the forward passed to fellow Freedom attacker Rebecca Moros, who easily placed her shot past Luckenbill.
“She is very fast going forward but sometimes she needs to come back and check for the ball,” teammate Sonia Bompastor said. “Her speed is definitely a weapon though.”
Freedom head coach Jim Gabarra agreed. “Lisa’s speed is great and she has been getting better at doing what our team needs her to do but like Sonia said, she needs to work on not just turning and running and coming back to the ball.”
Boston wasted little time evening up the score, but with the host of attacking options in Boston’s front it was an unlikely source who found the score sheet. Defender Alex Scott made a run down the right side. Forward Christine Latham sent a great ball to the English international. Scott collected the pass and shot high over Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod in the 49th minute of play. McLeod, playing in her first WPS game, ended with five saves.
“We were out early with the goalkeepers practicing our shooting and I’m glad because it really paid off today,” said Scott. “Christine [Latham] did a good job holding the ball up and got me a great pass. Kelly [Smith] was screaming for it in the penalty box and I think she would have gone mad if I didn’t put it in.”
From the 50th minute on, Boston took control of the majority of possession but was unable to score again. Scott went near post in the 65th as the defender looked for a brace after four defenders surrounded forward Kelly Smith. Smith, harried all afternoon by Freedom central defenders Cat Whitehill and Becky Sauerbrunn, finally had an opportunity to score in the 68th minute, but McLeod came up with a world-class save to keep the game tied.
The Breakers final and perhaps best chance came in the 83rd minute when Kristine Lilly collected an excellent pass from forward Candace Chapman in the box but shot high over goal.
“I really should have scored that one at the end,” said Lilly. “It was a great ball and I just didn’t put it in. I would love to have that chance again.”
Sean Grybos, Goal.com
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