Los Angeles Sol fans were hoping for a win this afternoon so they could double their pleasure by getting free tickets to the June 3rd Chicago match but it wasn’t meant to be.
Today’s game marked the second meeting between the Sol and the Boston Breakers. LA lost to the Breakers 2-1 last Saturday at Harvard Stadium and the Sol were looking to rebound from their first lost of the season.
Despite the league’s top two goal scorers on display, Boston’s Kelly Smith (four goals this season) and Los Angeles’ Marta (three), both defenses kept a clean sheet. Boston’s Amy LePeilbet and the Breakers back line were instrumental in warding off the intentions of Sol forwards Marta and Han Duan, while Los Angeles kept Smith off the scoresheet for the first time in WPS play.
The Breakers held an 11-8 shot advantage in the game, with the most pressure coming in the second half. The Sol outshot Boston, 7-5, in the first half, although both teams managed to hit the bars.
The Sol had the best early chance in the sixth minute when Marta’s through ball found fellow forward Han Duan in stride outside the penalty area. Duan dribbled around a defender before putting a low shot on the Boston goal that was steered aside for a corner by Breakers keeper Kristin Luckenbill. The Sol also created a chance a minute later, but a scramble in front of the goal did not result in a clear shot on goal.
Duan had another chance in the 24th minute but her glancing header off a Martina Franko cross sailed clearly over the bar. The Chinese national team standout also had an opportunity in the 38th minute when Shannon Boxx played a long ball over the Boston defense but Duan’s effort banged off the left post with only Luckinbill to beat.
Just before the break, Boston’s Christine Latham hit the top of the crossbar with a header that went out of bounds.
“I thought we played a good first half but we lacked quality finishing,” said Los Angeles Sol Head Coach Abner Rogers. “Boston is a very good team and you’re not going to get many opportunities to score against them. The chances were there today, but we need to finish better.”
After the halftime break, the Breakers came out strong. They had the first look at goal but midfielder Kelly Smith’s dangerous ball into the box was cleared by the Sol defense. The Sol nearly hit home in the 68th minute when Marta again found Duan but she never really got off a great effort with her left foot and the game remained scoreless.
During the second half, the Breakers looked close to grabbing a late winner on one of a series of set pieces. LePeilbet had a ball cleared off the line after a header with less than five minutes remaining. Kristine Lilly, Kasey Moore and Smith each also got on the end of services late, but were all defended successfully by the Sol.
In a nod to Mother’s Day, several Sol players had quotes about the best gift they ever gave their mom highlighted on the score screen.