The Breakers lost 2-1 to top-ranked Seattle Reign in front of a sold out capacity crowd at Soldiers Field.
On its face, that sounds bad, but it certainly wasn't the worst loss the Breakers have ever endured, with the Reign scoring their first off a corner kick and ultimately winning off of a penalty kick by Kim Little. Alyssa Naeher guessed correctly, but wasn't able to reach the ball where Little placed it.
Boston got one back in the 34' when Suzane Pires sent a quick ball into the box that found Kristie Mewis running. Mewis popped a header into the underside of the crossbar and the ball bounced in.
"I don't think we conceded too many chances today which was good," said Coach Durkin.
Boston had to work hard to try to contain Little, Jess Fishlock, and Keelin Winters in the midfield, which often kept the game in Boston's half but also made it quite congested. "I think this year, more than last, they're definitely crowding us out [in the midfield]," said Little. "I think for us it's just moving the ball quickly, making our movement clever so they can't get ballside of us. And yeah, I think we did that well today and created really good opportunities and played some nice passing football, but it would have been nice to score a few more."
Still, there's obviously room for improvement.
"We have to do better with our possession," said Durkin. "...we pass the ball poorly. Once we were able to start building up we were able to turn the game a little bit because we give them something else to do, you know, they have to defend."
Even though the Breakers once again played more urgently in the dying minutes of the game, they still weren't able to score. "I thought that Steph McCaffrey had a good chance at the end and she made an extra pass," Durkin said. "I wish she would have shot. And then Kristie had a couple near misses, but it was too little too late."
Of course, the Breakers were slightly hampered when forced to play with 10 after Julie King got sent off in the 82' with her second yellow for tugging Beverly Yanez down. "The red card, that was sort of the straw that broke the camel's back," said Durkin. "The girls did well to get a couple more chances even a player down."
The week of rest between Sky Blue and this game undoubtedly did the team a world of good. Durkin was frank about the team's exhaustion and the challenges of trying to rotate them. "We had nothing in New Jersey. It was frightening how tired the girls were. We did our best to sort of get them back but they're beat down a little bit mentally too because no one likes to lose. But it was really hard in New Jersey. We just did not recover from that second Chicago game at all."
Ultimately, Boston limiting the Reign to scoring from set pieces and getting one back from open play is really not the worst possible way this game could have gone down. Maybe that sounds like damning the team with faint praise, but if you've been following the league all season, you know that between Seattle's offense and Boston's tired defense, this could have ended up 3-0.
Now Boston travels midweek to face the Portland Thorns at home, before humping it back from the west coast for their last home game on Saturday. That's another three games in seven days, which is certain to do them no favors.
The best Boston fans can hope for at this point is probably that the team puts up a good fight and no one gets injured. Honestly, going down swinging wouldn't be a terrible way for the team to end the season.