Naeher’s PK Save Salvages Draw for Breakers

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Photo credit: Kari Heistad/capturedimages.biz

Alyssa Naeher stopped a late penalty to preserve a 1-1 draw between the Boston Breakers and Sky Blue FC on Sunday at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J.

Sky Blue was awarded a penalty in the 86th minute after a handball was called on a Breakers’ defender inside the box. Katy Freels stepped up to spot, but saw her shot stopped by Naeher, who collected eight saves on the day.

Former Breakers forward Kelly O’Hara opened the account inside of two minutes while Jazmine Reeves equalized in the 32nd minute.

The draw is Boston’s first of the season, and it put their mark at 3-9-1. The stalemate put Sky Blue’s record at 2-6-6.

Boston entered the match intent on putting their 2-0 loss to Seattle behind them, while Sky Blue were coming off a 2-2 draw to Chicago.

Their confidence still brimming from the result they grabbed in Chicago, the hosts went up early. Caitlin Foord blocked a Julie King clearance and quickly gained possession before sliding it inside for O’Hara, who coolly finished in the second minute of action.

With their backs against the wall early, the Breakers set out to level it, and did so just after the half hour mark. Kristie Mewis sent a long ball forward for Reeves, who latched onto it and scored to send the match to halftime dead even.

Although the match remained scoreless going into the waning stages, the hosts were afforded a golden opportunity to grab the go-ahead in the 86th minute. A Sky Blue free kick near the edge of the box appeared to hit a Breakers’ defender on the arm, and referee Greg Dopka pointed to the spot.

Freels went right, where it met Naeher’s mitts before spilling outside the post to deny the hosts of maximum points.

Boston returns to action on Friday at Sahlen’s Stadium where they’ll face the Western New York Flash at 7:30pm.

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About Brian O'Connell

Brian O'Connell serves as editor and staff writer at New England Soccer Today. He's also the Revolution beat writer for ESPNBoston.com, and is Officer at Large for the North American Soccer Reporters. He regularly contributes to The Associated Press, and has been featured on MLSSoccer.com & RevsNet.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianOConnell21 or contact him via e-mail at BOConnell21@aol.com