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Boston Breakers lose 2-0 to Seattle Reign

Better defense, but still a frustrating time watching the offense

Kyah Simon vs Reign
Stephanie Yang

Starting XI: Jami Kranich, Mollie Pathman, Julie King, Kassey Kallman, Christen Westphal, Rachel Wood, Angela Salem, Stephanie McCaffrey, Eunice Beckmann, Louise Schillgard, Kyah Simon

The Breakers held a lot steadier against Seattle in the first half than they did against the Western New York Flash. They had some decent early pressure through Eunice Beckmann and Stephanie McCaffrey, who managed a perfect cross across the face of goal that tragically had no one running onto it far post.

Then the Breakers got penned into their own half for the next 15 minutes or so, barely peeking their heads across the halfway line.

Seattle scored in the 14’, an attempted clearance deflecting off Julie King’s heel directly into the center of the box, where Nahomi Kawasumi picked it up and finished it to make it 1-0.

The back line was a little more together after that, though, and Christen Westphal had several good moments working the ball out of pressure. Most of Boston’s action went up that right side, with Westphal helping to kick things off from deep and work the ball around with a combination of Rachel Wood, Beckmann, and McCaffrey.

McCaffrey managed other good crosses that continued to suffer from a lack of targets, which of course begs the question of what the rest of the offense thought she was going to do when she got the ball deep along the endline.

Boston’s attacking picked up throughout the half, and they managed to push out and earn a flurry of corners in the 27’ that didn’t find targets.

Then the defense got lucky, with a Seattle header banging off the woodwork in the 45’, and the teams went into the second half at 1-0.

The second half went much the same way as the first: early Boston pressure, a Seattle goal, Boston attempting to push out of their own half, and missed opportunities.

Seattle added a second to their tally once again off the foot of Naho Kawasumi, this time as she got the ball at the top of the 18 and Mollie Pathman gave her enough space to take a shot, which she lobbed over Jami Kranich.

Boston made a sub in the 67’ with Brittany Ratcliffe in for Beckmann; she initially made some good pushes forward, but Beckmann’s absence was felt as Ratcliffe didn’t combine as well or as creatively with McCaffrey. Ratcliffe initially went left, pushing McCaffrey central and Kyah Simon to the right, but eventually she and Simon switched sides, though it didn’t have much of an effect for Ratcliffe.

Boston’s second sub was in the 76’ with Brooke Elby in for Westphal, who had a decent game up to that point. Elby attempted to spark some action from deep right but was continually stymied by Seattle.

The last sub was in the 88’ with Katie Schoepfer in for Simon, going into the midfield and trying to push up into the Seattle box. Schoepfer had a decent opportunity in the 89’ holding the ball right in front of goal but didn’t one-time it and promptly got surrounded by three Seattle players.

A late flurry of Seattle activity kept Boston scrambling in their own box and the game finished 2-0.

This was certainly a much better game for Boston than their 7-1 loss to WNY. Defensively, there were two errors that led to goals, but they were more coherent on the whole. Jami Kranich also had a good game and made some big stops, especially one in the 82’ when she tracked Kim Little on a slight breakaway and then stuffed her with a dive for the ball at her feet.

The problem remains that no matter how well Boston’s defense pulls together, its offense is a bit out of step with each other and unable to put more balls on frame. They looked better in this game by miles and miles than they did against WNY, with Beckmann and Schillgard in particular doing well to hold the ball and try to find their teammates, but the shots aren’t going in. It was particularly galling every time McCaffrey, looking very involved in the first half, created a chance in front of goal and no one was there to take it.

Boston has one last road game now before they come back to Jordan Field; they’ll try to get some points against the Orlando Pride on Sunday, July 10 at 5 PM ET.