Lianne Sanderson came into last night’s match against the Washington Spirit tied atop the league with three assists on the young season. She doubled that number by the end of the match, having a hand in all three Breakers goals as Boston topped the Spirit 3-0 in front of 1,246 fans on Saturday night.
With both teams looking to go into halftime locked in a scoreless draw, Breakers forward Kyah Simon worked back into her own half to win back a ball and did before sending a pass up to Sanderson.
The English international flicked the ball on for Heather O’Reilly who managed to get her thigh on the ball to pop it over Spirit keeper Chantel Jones in the 38th minute for her third goal of the season.
Three minutes later, Sanderson looked to find the back of the net herself after a miscue on the Washington backline but Jones raced off her line to keep her team within a goal.
It was the third meeting for the two East coast rivals who have played to a pair of 1-1 draws this season.
The Breakers doubled their lead eight minutes into the second half when Sanderson found Katie Schoepfer. Schoepfer slotted a one-time shot past Jones to put the Breakers up 2-0.
Sanderson almost got on the board in the 65th minute but her shot went just over the crossbar.
Simon was on the receiving end of a deft past that Sanderson slipped between two Spirit defenders and rocketed a shot into the left side netting for the final Breakers tally in the 66th minute. It was Simon’s first goal of the year after she was denied at the end of the first half when her shot smacked off the left post.
Boston had an opportunity to go up 4-0 in the 79th minute when Tori Huster was called for a handball in the box. Schoepfer stepped up to take the penalty kick but Jones guessed correctly, diving to her right to make the stop.
The Spirit were unable to find any kind of rhythm in the attacking third and did not register a shot on goal. It was first time all season that the Breakers were able to keep a clean sheet.
Boston improved to 3-1-2 (10pts) and will next be in action when they travel to Sky Blue FC on June 1. The Spirit fell to 1-4-3 (6pts) but will not play until June 15 when they host the Western New York Flash.
- Lianne Sanderson: Well this one is easy – the Breakers have scored 11 goals this season. Sanderson has played a role in more than half of those goals. She’s still searching for her first goal of the campaign, but teams have to be keeping an eye on her in the midfield.
- Washington’s hot and cold offense: The Spirit exploded for four – yes, FOUR – goals last Thursday against the Seattle Reign. Yes, it was the Reign who have struggled defensively this season, but still. They were shutout at Portland a week ago but managed to generate some chances. Matheson was held scoreless for just the second time this season and Ali Krieger was not nearly as effective coming up the right flank has she has been in other matches this season.
- Goalkeeping situations: Chantel Jones made her second straight start for the injured Ashlyn Harris. According to reports from the Spirit, Harris aggravated a knee injury against the Reign on 5/16. The injury was initially sustained on April 14 against the Breakers. Boston has their own goalkeeping carousel, with both Cecilia Santiago and Ashley Phillips seeing time in goal. Phillips hasn’t been available for the past two matches, giving Santiago the start and Colleen Boyd the role of backup keeper. Plus, the Equalizer reported earlier this week that Boston has signed Alyssa Naeher. It’s unclear who has been let go in order to make space on the roster for her just yet but expect to hear about that in the days to come.
- Sydney Leroux: After going on a goal scoring tear for back to back matches earlier in the season and being named the Player of the Week for Week 4, Leroux has been held scoreless. Breakers head coach listed the upcoming USWNT camp, the depth of her bench up top amongst the reasons for Leroux’s absence from the lineup.
BOS: Heather O’Reilly (Lianne Sanderson) 38’
BOS: Katie Schoepfer (Sanderson) 53’
BOS: Kyah Simon (Sanderson) 66′
Washington: Chantel Jones, Robyn Gayle, Ali Krieger, Domenica Hodak (Kika Toulouse 74′), Lori Lindsey, Diana Matheson, Julia Roberts, Tori Huster, Jasmyne Spencer, Tiffany McCarty, Stephanie Ochs (Colleen Williams 80′)
Subs not used: Ashlyn Harris, Holly King, Candace Chapman, Ingrid Wells
Boston: Cecilia Santiago, Julie King, Cat Whitehill, Kia McNeill, Rhian Wilkinson, Mariah Noguiera, Joanna Lohman, Lianne Sanderson, Heather O’Reilly (Adriana Leon 70′), Katie Schoepfer (Lisa-Marie Woods 80′, Kyah Simon (Kate Howarth 86′)
Subs not used: Colleen Boyd, Sydney Leroux, Melinda Mercado