Evidently Tiffany McCarty and Sydney Leroux took a ‘Ninja Stealth 101' class. On the field both strikers had surreptitious pursuits into the box with the goalkeeper unaware until the moment before their cover was blown, beginning their NWSL careers with a goal apiece in a 1-1 draw between the Boston Breakers and the Washington Spirit.
The first half was dominated by the Spirit as they put pressure on the Breakers within the first four minutes. Washington team captain Lori Lindsey played a prominent role throughout, assisting in headers to get the play moving. The first 15 minutes of play was stale for both teams but a Tiffany McCarty goal brought the match to life and the next 75 minutes of play was phenomenal.
The opening goal in the 15th minute was brought on by a run down the wing by Ingrid Wells who sent a nice delivery in the cross to find the head of McCarty, who nodded the ball into the upper right corner of the net. It appeared as though goalkeeper Ashley Phillips was unaware of McCarty in the box at the time, as she eased up in the net assuming no Spirit members were in the proximity and that a Breaker would clear the ball.
Washington's captain Lori Lindsey contained much of the match in the midfield while keeping a level head to prevent play from moving into the Spirit's quadrant. They put on a great display of resilience against the Breakers, preventing them from equalizing for nearly 75 minutes. Heather O'Reilly was a prominent play-maker for Boston attempting various plays to push forward and create a goal.
It took the Breakers until the 24th minute to create a promising attack led by Heather O'Reilly, who picked up a poor clearance from Julia Roberts and ran passed Kika Toulouse to send a shot wide of the post. It is unclear whether the pass was intended as a cross for Kyah Simon, who was trailing behind Tori Huster and Robyn Gayle.
The Spirit looked to extend their lead in the 34th minute with an eloquent linkup between McCarty, Ingrid Wells, and Ali Krieger, who took the final touch before passing it to McCarty, who was sitting in the penalty area. Unfortunately she didn't get enough force behind the ball and Phillips comfortably picked it up. If the Spirit perfect this routine and McCarty can grip a solid touch, they will be a danger throughout the season. The Spirit would later repeat a similar passing formation in the 50th minute between Lindsey, Diana Matheson, McCarty and Wells with a weak low strike that landed at Philips feet.
The second half should have been the Breakers time to shine but the Spirit did not let go of their domination as they held possession and created several opportunities during the second half. Ali Krieger cut out a 20 yard pass in the 53rd minute from Cat Whitehill who was attempting to reach Sydney Leroux.
In stoppage time Boston's very own road runner Sydney Leroux stole the spotlight from what could have been NWSL history for the Spirit. Elizabeth Guess controls the ball at her feet as she charges towards Huster outside the penalty area. Huster fails to dispossess Guess as she spots Leroux making a run into the top left hand corner of the field; Guess threads a short pass to Leroux who strikes the ball into the lower right hand corner of the net.
Prior to Leroux's equalizer, she had a collision with Spirit GK Ashlyn Harris. Harris appeared to be injured which concerned fellow USWNT teammate Sydney Leroux who put on the greatest display of sportsmanship. Leroux walked over Harris, brought her a water bottle and checked to see if she was alright. Leroux made me believe human decency is still well and good in today's generation.