It was the best of performances, followed by the worst of performances, it was the age of wise passes, it was the age of foolish challenges, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of players of the week, it was the season of Darkness, it was missing Hope, it was the despairing for Winters, we had everything last week, we had nothing this week, we were all going direct to top of the table, we were all going direct the other way — in short, this season has been so far oscillating, that some of the wisest commentators insisted on its being received, for good or for awful, in the superlative degree of comparison only.
Seattle Reign fell to the Boston Breakers 3-0 on Saturday night in a match that Boston controlled from start to finish. It was the Breakers’ first victory over the Reign — and first shutout — in 11 matches all-time. Boston’s goals were scored by Adriana Leon, Rose Lavelle, and Natasha Dowie, and Leon also contributed two assists.
Seattle started the same lineup that routed Houston 5-1 last week, but from the opening whistle, Boston commanded the midfield and kept the Reign on the chase, connecting numerous passes and switching play rapidly to break Seattle’s trademark high press. Boston’s first goal came in the 11th minute, when Merritt Mathias mishandled a Boston cross near the top of the Reign box. Adriana Leon recovered the ball in space and put her shot past Haley Kopmeyer for her first goal of the season.
Four minutes later, Leon again dribbled into the Reign box, before laying off a pass to Rose Lavelle, who finished the opportunity for her first NWSL goal.
Although Boston dominated the chances in the first half, Seattle had a few opportunities of their own, primary through long balls to Megan Rapinoe, who had several chances from distance that were smothered by Breakers keeper Abby Smith, as well as a dangerous free kick opportunity near the end of that half that streaked just wide.
The Reign looked more composed to start the second half, but again it was the Breakers who again found the score sheet in the 52nd minute, when Leon found Natasha Dowie in space between Reign defenders. The English striker made no mistake in finishing her breakaway opportunity for her second goal of the season.
Seattle made some dramatic changes shortly thereafter, switching to a three player backfield after the double substitution of Rachel Corsie and Rebekah Stott for Merritt Mathias and Christine Nairn, but the changes were unsuccessful in unlocking the solid Boston defense. Seattle’s best opportunity of the half came in the 80th minute, when a Megan Rapinoe cross found Rumi Utsugi six yards from goal, but Smith successfully parried her one-on-one opportunity.
Leon nearly scored a second a few minutes later off a shot from a difficult angle, but the ball caromed off the crossbar and was cleared by Seattle.
With the loss Seattle remains at 4 points on the season, but falls to 5th place pending the result of tomorrow’s FC Kansas City vs. Sky Blue FC match. The Reign travel to Portland next week for their first Cascadia clash of the season.