CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Danesha Adams’ 103rd minute goal in the first overtime ended the playoff hopes for the Boston Breakers, as the Philadelphia Independence took a 2-1 victory to secure a berth in Sunday’s WPS Final against FC Gold Pride.
Lauren Cheney scored the opening goal in the 22nd minute to put the Breakers on top until Caroline Seger knotted it up at on apiece in the 29th minute. With overtime necessary to decide the affair, Adams rose to the occasion with the game-winner.
Although the Breakers struck first, the first chapter belonged to Philadelphia. Holmfridur Magnusdottir’s 4th minute dead ball rip from distance forced Alyssa Naeher to make a spectacular diving save to keep the Independence off the board early.
As the game progressed, the Breakers began to set the tone. Kristine Lilly volleyed a long pass from Cheney that was patted away by Val Henderson in the 12th minute.
The Breakers finally cashed in when Lilly returned the favor by sending a perfect pass ahead to Cheney, who turned on the jets and beat her defenders. Then, with Henderson in her sights, the quick-strike forward lobbed it up and over the keeper to make it 1-0.
However, the lead didn’t last long. Off a good buildup deep into the Boston end, former Breakers’ forward Amy Rodriguez played it wide to Seger, who coolly slotted it past Naeher for the equalizer.
Although the scoreline stayed one apiece for the remainder of regulation, both clubs found chances to tilt the scales in their favor.
Fabiana raced down the right searching for Cheney, who nearly tapped it through before a rush of Philadelphia defenders arrived late to smother it in the 36th minute. The home side countered with a chance of its own in the 49th minute when Lianne Sanderson linked up with Rodriguez, who caught Naeher well off her line and sent it through to the open net. But the shot strayed wide of the near post as the scoreboard remained unchanged.
In overtime, Boston hoped to use the wings to their advantage and stretch out the defense. Instead, it was Philadelphia who came out attacking, sending numbers forward in hopes of the upset over the second-seeded Breakers.
It paid off 11 minutes into the first overtime when Tina DiMartino chased it deep into the right channel before sending a teasing ball toward the far post. Adams, who had bothered the Boston backline late, hopped up and headed it inside the far post for the lead. Although there was a question of whether the ball caromed off her left hand, which was tucked near her left ear, the goal stood and the score went 2-1 Philadelphia.
With their season ticking away, Boston had one more chance to level it in the 113th minute when Kasey Moore dispossessed Adams inside the Independence end and quickly crushed a 25-yard shot that crashed off the crossbar. Alex Scott immediately pounced on it and went alone on Henderson. But the defender failed to harness it, as the weak shot died yards before the line and was quickly cleared away.