New England Soccer Today

Breakers Slide Continues

Breakers forward Sydney Leroux (right) tries to keep pace with Reign midfielder Jessica Fishlock in Wednesday’s NWSL clash, which saw Seattle win their first game of the season. (Photo: Kari Heistad/

SOMERVILLE, Mass. – There seem to be no answers in sight for the Boston Breakers, who let a one-goal lead slip late in a 2-1 loss to Seattle Reign FC on Wednesday night at Dilboy Stadium and extended their winless streak to five games.

The last place Reign, who entered the match winless through their first 11 matches, notched their first victory of the season.

“I thought we had a good game plan, and I also thought we got a little bit unlucky,” said Breakers Head Coach Lisa Cole. “I think Seattle is going to steal a lot of wins from [teams]. We have to take some accountability. We’re doing some things really well, but we’ve got to play well for 90 minutes. I thought we started better and didn’t give up an early goal. There were some positives in the game, but we’ve got to find some wins.”

The Breakers looked poised to snap their recent slide early on, though it took them a while before they finally broke through. The goal finally came in the 51st minute as Mariah Nogueira scored her first goal of the season, beating Hope Solo by heading in a flick from Sydney Leroux that came from a corner kick by Katie Schoepfer.

“I headed in the flick by Leroux off the corner and then went to celebrate but nobody came to celebrate with me,” said Nogueira with a smile. “I wasn’t even sure if I’d scored. Then I heard the announcer say it, and it felt really good.”

Boston’s lead didn’t last, as they dropped back rather than search for a second goal. Seattle started dominating the possession and it wasn’t long before the Breakers defense came under siege. Seattle’s most surprising effort to level the game was a 50-yard effort by Megan Rapinoe in the 75th minute that Boston goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher had to fall backward to keep from going into the net.

Naeher, who made her second start of the season in the game, wore a protective mask due to a broken nose. She finished the game with eight big saves, but saw her defense torn up late in the second half.

In the 78th minute, Rapinoe tested Naeher from distance again. She hit a 20-yard free kick toward the left post that Naeher dove to stop, but Jessica Fishlock broke free of her marker and pummeled the rebound into the back of the net for her second goal of the season to level the game.

Seattle would seal the deal in the 86th minute through Christine Nairn, who combined to score the go-ahead goal with former Breaker Liz Bogus. Bogus crossed inside the six yard box from the left flank and Nairn was there to put the effort away with a one-time volley.

“We hunkered too much,” said Whitehill. “That’s when they got more space, more time on the ball. Megan Rapinoe started getting more of the ball. I think the best defense is a good attack. They didn’t have any hope and they started getting sniffs. We don’t follow our mark on the first goal and as a team we got burned on the second goal.”

Boston had bids to double their lead throughout the game, but couldn’t make any come off. Kyah Simon’s diving header off another Schoepfer corner kick in the 11th minute got cleared off the line by Elli Reed, another former Breakers player.

Solo stopped O’Reilly’s long range effort in the 19th minute, and saw a play that looked exactly like Seattle’s go-ahead goal when Leroux launched one right over the bar in the 29th minute, and knocked away an effort from the left corner of the box by Simon in the 66th minute.

“We’ve been making it a goal of ours anyway to score and get shots on goal and chances,” added Schoepfer. “With Hope Solo you have to be more precise with your opportunities. We’re aware that she’s one of the best goalkeepers in the world.”

A goal was called offside for Boston, too. It occurred in the 36th minute when Leroux stepped in front of the last Seattle defender to head the ball in past Solo.

The Breakers defense came undone, however, no matter how good the attack play was against Seattle. The Breakers haven’t had a shutout since their last victory, and they’ve had to deal with a revolving door of players on the back line.

“We have yet to have two straight games with the same back four,” added Whitehill. “That’s a serious issue. With people coming in an out, and I know there are injuries and national team duties, but we really can’t afford to not be on the same page. The chemistry needs to be there from the beginning.”

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