The Breakers shifted preseason up to the next gear with their first game as a team in 2017, beating Boston College 5-1 in a closed-door game off the back of an Adriana Leon hat trick.
46’ Smith off, Prudhomme on
46’ Lavelle off, Purce on
46’ Haavi off, Onumonu on
62’ Elby off, Chapman on
75’ Dowie off, Dowd on
Morgan Andrews was unavailable as she has returned to USC to finish classes and take her final exams.
Adriana Leon bagged a hat trick, starting things off with a 2’ goal off a cross from Rose Lavelle. Leon scored in the 68’ and the 85’ as well, with a goal each from Rosie White in the 88’ and Ifeoma Onumonu in the 90’. BC got one goal in the 31’ and that giant gap between Breakers goals, followed by a flurry in the final minutes, seems like the usual for an NWSL team in the middle of conditioning against a college team used to playing with unlimited subs. It’s also early days, so the team’s offense is still working out how to break down opposing teams and learn each other’s capabilities. It seems promising that of the five goals, assists came from several different places. Lavelle assisted Leon’s first, while Onumonu and Salem assisted her second and third respectively. Dowd assisted on the fourth and Chapman assisted on the fifth. Those are assists coming from all over the field, giving Boston more than one route towards goal.
Beard played a consistent back line of Christen Westphal, Megan Oyster, Kylie Strom, and Brooke Elby, with Westphal right and Elby left. Allysha Chapman was a like-for-like sub and, given her role playing for Canada, should be a strong contender to vie for that starting position once she’s firmly back with the Breakers after Canada finishes a pair of friendlies in Europe against Sweden and Germany in early April.
Angela Salem is back in a familiar role as a holding mid for the team, with Rose Lavelle and Rosie White rounding out the midfield. Margaret Purce may also be in the works as a midfield starter, though that question only becomes more complicated once Andrews returns. At the very least this is a team that seems to have many more choices in the midfield than it did last season.
There’s choice in the attack as well, with Natasha Dowie, Emilie Haavi, Adriana Leon, Ifeoma Onumonu, and Hayley Dowd. Will Dowd or Onumonu make the final roster cut? It’s far too soon to tell after not even two weeks of preseason and one game against a college team.
“I felt we could have penetrated them a lot quicker, missed their press out, especially in the first half. We caused our own problems with that,” said head coach Matt Beard after the game via team video. Still, he called it a “good start,” which is about all you can ask of a team at this point in preseason.
The Breakers will play their next preseason game on Tuesday, March 28 against the NEFC U-15 boys at ForeKicks in Taunton at 7 PM. This game will be open to the public.