The Boston Breakers celebrate their last-minute 1-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars at Dilboy Stadium. Photo Credit: M. Linehan for Boston Breakers
Women's Soccer News: WPSL Elite Semifinal Pits Boston Breakers against Chicago Red Stars in Rematch Showdown
LIVE UPDATE: The score is now 3-1 in favor of the Red Stars.
Amanda DaCosta scored in 81st minute putting Boston Breakers on the board.
The second goal for the Chicago Red Stars was scored by Lori Chalupny and the third by Ella Masar.
Score @ Half Time: Chicago Red Stars 1-0 Boston Breakers
Chicago Red Stars' Lauren Fowlkes scored in the 14th. Fowlkes jumped up above Boston Breakers' defense and headed the ball into the back of the net.
Chicago Red Stars have had 5 shots on goal in the first half and Boston Breakers has managed to save 4 of them. The Breakers are trailing Chicago and we will see if the Stars can catch up.
The first time the Boston Breakers met the Chicago Red Stars in the inaugural Women’s Premier Soccer League (WPSL) Elite League season they were riding a five-game win streak that had seen them outscore opponents 16-4. Undaunted, the Red Stars got to work and handed the Breakers their first loss of the season, a 1-0 shock to the team from Massachusetts. The second meeting saw Boston pull out a last-minute 1-0 win to end a Chicago three-game win streak.
On Wednesday, July 25, the two teams will meet for the third time, and this one is for (nearly) all the marbles. Boston and Chicago will face off in the second semifinal match of the WPSL Elite League Championship Series, beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET. In the first semifinal, Western New York Flash will take on New York Fury, with kickoff at 5:00 p.m. The winners will meet in the final on Saturday, July 28, at 1:00 p.m. The Championship Series is being held at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, N.Y., home of the WNY Flash.
"I’m excited about playing Chicago. They’re a good team, and every time we’ve matched up with them, it’s been a good soccer game," said Boston Breakers Head Coach Lisa Cole. "They have some players who can be dangerous, so it’ll be an exciting game. And it should be an exciting game when you get to the playoffs."
The Red Stars took the first meeting, at North Central College in Napervillel Ill., on June 3 thanks to Michele Weissenhofer’s goal in the 34th minute, with an assist from team captain Lori Chalupny. Chicago goalkeeper Jamie Forbes recorded her third clean sheet of the season in that game, on her way to a total of six shutouts on the year. The Red Stars went on to notch wins over NY Fury (2-1) and ASA Chesapeake Charge (5-0) before losing to WNY Flash by a 3-0 score.
The second time the two met, at the Breakers home field of Dilboy Stadium on June 30, the two sides battled evenly for almost a full 90 minutes. Just as it looked as if the game would finish in a scoreless tie, Boston’s Courtney Jones took the ball down the left side and passed it on over to Katie Schoepfer. “Shep” dummied the ball to Australian international Kyah Simon who slipped going into the six-yard box but still managed to get a foot on the ball and slide it past Forbes for the 1-0 win.
Over the final weeks, the leadership of the Elite League was a battle among Boston, Chicago and Western New York, with each team taking at least a share of the top spot. A loss to WNY, a weather-induced forfeit to New England Mutiny and a 1-1 draw with Fury dropped the Red Stars to fourth spot, while Boston’s 1-0 win in the final regular season game against Flash gave the Breakers first place. That set up the final rematch between Boston and Chicago.
|Chicago team captain Lori Chalupny (L) fends off Boston captain Leslie Osborne during the Red Stars 1-0 victory. Photo Credit: Chicago Red Stars/Smith
“We are excited to be one of the final four teams,” said Red Stars’ midfielder Jen Buczkowski. “I think both games will be exciting, and at this point it is just one game at a time.”
Boston will come into the game with the league’s second leading goal scorer in Simon, whose 12 goals trail WNY Flash’s Spanish international Adriana by a single tally. The Breakers also feature two-way threat Schoepfer who leads the league with six assists, along with teammate Jones, to go with her seven goals. For Schopefer this has been a breakthrough season after coming off the bench in 2011 with the WPS Breakers.
Chicago’s offense is headed by Lauren Fowlkes, with seven goals and one assist. Fowlkes is a versatile player who began the season at forward but has also helped anchor the back line on several occasions. Team captain Chalupny, who also captained the U.S. Women’s National Team when they took the 2008 Olympic gold medal, has five goals and four assists. The third cog in the Red Stars offense is Weissenhofer, with five goals and two assists.
Both Chicago and Boston boast hard working, stingy defenses and outstanding goalkeepers. The Red Stars have only allowed ten goals all season, while scoring 26 of their own. Likewise, Boston has shown strength at both ends of the pitch with 28 goals for and only eight against. (Boston and Chicago each were penalized with a forfeit, adding one goal against on the final season statistics.)
Both Chicago’s Forbes and Boston’s Alice Binns have recorded six clean sheets on the season, one less than league leader Michelle Betos of the Fury. Forbes has posted a 0.8 goals-against average (GAA) on the season with ten goals allowed in 13 games, while Binns’ mark is 0.58 with seven allowed in 12 games. Binns has played 1080 minutes over the season, while Forbes has registered 1125 minutes.
The two sides have shown that Wednesday’s game could go either way, and may very well go down to the final minutes before one team comes out on top. If the Red Stars win, they will be in a position to pull off a rare women’s soccer “double” after having won the USASA Women’s National Cup over the past weekend. A Breakers win will give them the chance for their first championship in the three leagues the franchise has played in – WUSA, WPS and WPSL Elite.
“It doesn’t matter who beat who in the regular season, it’s about winning one game right now,” said Chicago’s Buczkowski. “We’re hoping to end the season accomplishing the goal we set back in May.”
2012 WPSL Elite League Championship Series
The 2012 WPSL Elite League Championship Series will take place at Sahlen's Stadium, 460 Oak Street, Rochester, NY. The semifinal matches on Wednesday, July 25, will feature Western New York Flash against New York Fury at 5:00 p.m. ET, followed by Boston Breakers against Chicago Red Stars at 8:00 p.m. ET. The winners will meet on Saturday, July 28, at 1:00 p.m. ET. The games will be streamed live at livesportsvideo.com.
Related Article: WNY Flash Meet NY Fury in WPSL Elite Playoffs