With one strike of her boot, Carli Lloyd helped her club climb three spots on the NWSL table, putting away the visiting Breakers with a late game-winner.
For Western New York, however, the end result followed a first half of continual frustration. Lloyd and fellow attackers Samantha Kerr and McCall Zerboni led the way offensively, helping their club threaten Alyssa Naeher and Co. with eight shots--and no goals. In the first minute, after receiving a daunting long ball over the top, Kerr found space on the right side and entered the box one v. one with Naeher. The U.S. International dragged her shot just wide, though her assertive start set the stage for an attack-happy first frame.
Kerr, though involved from start to finish, found herself on the end of another promising opportunity in the 41st minute. A Brittany Taylor long ball over the top found Kerr with space on the left side, who attempted to volley the open shot on frame. Once again, Kerr sent the strike wide.
Despite leading the Breakers' build-up for much of the first frame, Heather O'Reilly failed to develop a legitimate goal-scoring opportunity. Her side continually worked to play long balls over the top, a tactic that frequently relinquished possession and rarely created a chance on frame. After struggling to contain Kerr, and after failing to develop an offensive rhythm, the Breakers entered the break in a fortunate 0-0 deadlock.
In the beginning of the second frame, the Flash came our firing, using the in-form Kerr to continually threaten Naeher's clean sheet. Finally, in the 59th minute, Western New York grabbed an inevitable 1-0 lead. Following a sloppy foul from Bianca Sierra, Taylor played a flawless deep ball onto the far post to Lloyd, who headed the cross past Naeher and into the side netting.
For the ensuing 10 minutes, the Flash continued to push forward, looking for a second tally off the foot of Lloyd. Instead, the Breakers caught Western New York sitting back, securing a late equalizer on the road. Off a poor giveaway, Maddy Evans slotted rookie Nkem Ezurike into the box, who used a patient one-touch shot onto the far post to draw even with Western New York.
Once again, however, the Flash continued to push forward with numbers. In the 79th minute, Adriana Martin received a well-paced ball in the center of the box before placing a shot on frame. For a moment, the strike looked destined for the back of the net, though Naeher emphatically stretched to her left, parried the shot wide and preserved the 1-1 stalemate.
Four minutes later, the Flash went on top for good. Despite clearing a late corner kick, the Breakers surrendered possession back to the Flash, who patiently built with a goal in mind. After a series of clever passes, Vicky Losada played a careful through ball to Lloyd on the right side of the box. From a tough angle, Lloyd ripped a shot past Naeher, beating Boston's keeper for her second goal of the evening.
Although Lloyd's late game-winner helped Western New York come away with a deserved victory, the finish gutted Tom Durkin's side. On a day when the attack seemed out of sync, Boston nearly earned a result, thanks to another near-flawless evening for Naeher. Instead, they surrendered yet another late goal, tumbling even farther from NWSL relevancy.
On Wednesday, July 2, the Breakers will visit Washington for the third of seven consecutive road matches. Match kicks off at 7:00 PM.