Leroux equalizer hands Breakers a point
By Eric Beato
The prolific U.S. international striker scored the Breakers' first NWSL goal in second-half stoppage time to claim a share of the points against the Spirit at a sold-out Dilboy Stadium. (Leon Halip/Getty Images)
SOMERVILLE, Mass. — One of the stalwart franchises of women's professional soccer, the Boston Breakers, took its bow in the National Women's Soccer League in dramatic fashion.
Sidney Leroux scored in the 91st minute to secure a 1-1 draw for the Breakers against the Washington Spirit on Sunday night in front of a sellout crowd of 2,634 at Dilboy Stadium.
The late equalizer provided some long-awaited relief on a frustrating night. Leroux and fellow U.S. international Heather O'Reilly created numerous chances and close calls throughout the match without connecting, and it looked as if the Breakers would come away empty-handed.
"I thought it was only going to be a matter of time," Breakers coach Lisa Cole said, "but I thought we might run out of time, to be honest."
They didn't. Second-half substitute Libby Guess fed Leroux with the seconds ticking down and the U.S. international made no mistake at the back post.
"I like to keep it interesting, I guess," Leroux said. "We just needed to keep pushing, keep pushing, and it ended up working out."
It didn't exactly unfold according to plan, though. Despite dominating possession in the early stages, the Breakers conceded the opener. Tiffany McCarty headed a cross from Stephanie Ochs past Breakers keeper Ashley Phillips to open the scoring after 15 minutes.
"I thought we could have been on the board first maybe a couple of times," Cole said. "Then they got that important first goal and were able to carry that. We were battling, battling, and they got to get tighter in their defense, so it made it harder to score. But we definitely had some good opportunities."
Those forays eventually produced the equalizer in the waning moments and secured a point in the Breakers' first NWSL match.
The NWSL is the third attempt at a sustainable women's professional league in the United States over the past dozen years. The Breakers have been charter members of all three leagues, including the Women's United Soccer Association (2001-03) and Women's Professional Soccer (2009-11).
WAS: McCarty (Ochs), 15'
BOS: Leroux (Guess), 90'+1'
BOS: Phillips, Dragotta (Woods, 85'), McNeill, Whitehill, Wilkinson, Lohman, Sanderson, Schoepfer, O'Reilly, Simon (Guess, 75'), Leroux
WAS: Harris, Toulouse, Lindsey, Matheson, Wells (Hodak, 80'), Krieger, Roberts, McCarty (Miller, 85'), Gayle, Ochs, Huster