New England Soccer Today

Buehler Lifts Breakers

BOSTON, Mass. – The Boston Breakers cruised to their first home victory of the season on Sunday night, beating Sky Blue FC 1-0 off a second half goal by Rachel Buehler.  Buehler, who played the entire match in central defense, also helped the Breakers grab their first shutout of the season.

“I thought the defense played well for the whole 90 minutes,” said goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, who made three saves on the night.  “They’ve got alot of great attacking personalities.  I thought the defense did a really good job of containing them and did well to keep their chances at a minimum and shutting them down.”

The Breakers (2-2-0, 6 points) played a 4-4-2 formation with Lauren Cheney playing in front of the defense and Kelly Smith as the high striker.  But the Breakers were unable to create any clear cut chances in the first half and changed the formation at halftime.

A congested and incoherent midfield in the first half gave way to a more organized style of play in the second half.  Tony DeCicco switched Smith and Cheney in the formation which gave the Breakers more space on the field.

“We switched it around,” said Smith.  “We felt like we weren’t really holding the ball up front.  It seemed to work, playing it in behind and laying it off to Cheney and then she was playmaking from the middle.  I don’t think I did a very good job of doing that in the first half.  I was holding on to the ball too much and I think that’s why [DiCicco] made the change.”

Buehler put the Breakers ahead in the 52nd minute when a Smith cross deflected off of Osbourne and found the central defender, who fired a shot in off the crossbar past Jenni Branam.

“I like to get in and try to see if I can make something happen,” said Buehler.  “I was just in the right place at the right time.  It bounced a round a little bit and it fell to me.  It was kind of an instinctual moment, you just go for it and hope it goes in.”

After Buehler’s goal, Breakers had several chances to widen the lead.  Rookie midfielder Keelin Winter missed a pair of chances within a three minute period.  In the 67th minute, Smith played a ball across the penalty area to Lauren Cheney.  Cheney dribbled toward goal before laying the ball off to Winters whose first time shot narrowly sailed wide of goal.

Minutes later, Kelly O’Hara found Winters open in the penalty area in the 69th minute. But Winters’ shot wasn’t strong enough to beat Branam, who made the save by diving to her left.

Sky Blue FC tried to push numbers forward in stoppage time in search of a late-match goal to salvage a point.  But, with Sky Blue pressing hard, the Breakers almost doubled their lead when Branam launched a goal kick 15 yards off her line that Cheney intercepted.  Cheney took one touch, shot, and hit the post as she nearly caught Branam off her line.

“I thought we were much better in the second half,” said DiCicco.  “We were just a little bit out of sync, holding the ball too much just not being able to pass.  I think we dodged a flurry they had in the first half.  Overall, I thought we deserved the three points.”

Indeed, the Breakers played like a hungry team all night. After dropping their home opener 2-1, DiCicco mentioned the significance of getting back in the win column.

“It’s important,” said DiCicco of the win.  “We’ve been close.  Last week I thought we should have gotten a result.  We’ve got to keep improving.  We have veterans, but we have a lot of young players.  Those young players have to keep evolving.”

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