A Brace of braces as the Flash Beat Boston
Ninety minutes were not enough Sunday in Boston to decide a winner between the Boston Breakers and the Western New York Flash. But in the 92nd minute, second half substitute Sonia Bernudez found the back of the net to give the Flash the victory and all three points.
3,754 fans at Harvard Stadium witnessed a double brace. Boston’s own Kristie Mewis scored twice. So did Western New York’s Abby Wambach. For U.S. fans, it was a double-brace by two of their own.
Fans also saw the Flash take three leads. They saw the Breaker’s come from behind, but alas, only twice. They did see their Breakers down by two goals but even again just ten minutes later. They saw seven goals. They saw, once again, their Breakers, their Heartbreakers, come up just short.
For the Flash, they too may have come up just short. With two games left and six points behind Portland who sit in the fourth spot, their back-to-back losses to Sky Blue in New Jersey and the Breakers at home on the 25th of July, most likely sealed their fate to sit out of the 2014 playoff action—they’d have to be perfect, the Thorns would have to lose both remaining games, and the Red Stars, a point ahead of the Flash and with a game in hand, would have to stumble in their final three.
Along with the brace, Wambach provided Flash fans with a number of what-ifs to ponder. Wambach, the world’s highest scoring international player, scored six goals in seven matches for Western New York this season. A season-long, healthy Wambach would arguably have converted some losses to draws, some draws to wins, and placed the Flash in the midst of the playoff race.
But if 2015 resembles anything like Sunday, Flash fans will have a lot to look forward to. Wambach got things off to an early start when she pounced on a poor attempt to clear a cross by Cat Whitehill in the eighth minute. Wambach drilled it in from point blank range. A diving Alyssa Naeher had no chance to save it.
Boston tied things up in the 29th minute when recent acquisition, Bianca Sierra, outplayed a pair of Flash defenders to send in a cross to Breaker One-Nine Kristie Mewis who shot it into the back of the net for her first goal of the season.
The match ended 1-1 at the half. Both sides had more goals, a combined five in fact, for the second half.
Wambach, who got things going in the first half, did so again in the second. She took a pass from Carli Lloyd in the 49th minute and converted it from distance to give the Flash their second lead of the night.
In the 66th minute, it was Carli Lloyd again with an assist when Adriana Martin sent in a long distance pass to Lloyd who headed it to Samantha Kerr who headed it in for the 3-1 lead.
Jazmine Reeves answered with a goal-scoring header of her own from a long-distance Heather O’Reilly free kick in the 74th minute that cut the Flash lead to one. It marked the seventh goal of the season for the Breaker’s number seven. Boston’s Rachel Wood, who first got to O’Reilly’s free kick and sent it towards Reeves, picked up the assist.
Two minutes later, Mewis scored her second goal, equalizing for Boston. O’Reilly found Mewis with a cross-field pass. With a defender on her, Mewis converted with the help of some footwork and sent the ball in past the top corner to even the match at three apiece.
But in added-time, in the 92nd minute, Cat Whitehill mishandled a chance to intercept a pass. Kerr ate it up, putting distance between herself and Whitehill. Kerr was off to the races without a blue shirt in front of her. Naeher did her best to protect the goal but Kerr crossed it to Bernudez who tapped it into the open net for the lead, for the win, for all three points.
The Flash next host Sky Blue FC on Wednesday, August thirteenth. Their fate may have been decided by then as Portland next plays Boston on Sunday, August tenth. Portland would just need a point to keep the Flash out of the playoffs.
Before hosting the Thorns on Sunday, the Breakers travel to Kansas City on Wednesday. FC Kansas City is secured a playoff spot and will be playing for homefield advantage in the semi-finals. With four games left, the Breakers are battling to avoid the basement. It may be a battle decided on the final day of the season when ninth place Boston host eight place Houston on the seventh of August.
(Via The Soccer Desk)