NWSL Week 16 Weekend Recap

After clinching a victory against Washington, the Boston Breakers now trail WNYF by four points in hopes to secure a spot in the play-offs.

Washington Spirit vs Boston Breakers, Final Score: 2-5

The Spirit struck first but struggled to hold on after Boston scored four straight goals to conclude their night, amassing a 5-2 scoreline against Washington.

Boston didn't have enough time to settle into the game before Washington's Diana Matheson scored the opening goal in the second minute of action. The Breakers back four had an error in judgment when they failed to close down Jasmyne Spencer and Matheson following an early corner kick. The defense was broken up with only two defenders sitting back, both of them too far from Matheson and Spencer to shut down their advance towards goal.

Matheson carried the ball unmarked into the penalty box and slashed a ground-hugging ball into the net for a 1-0 Spirit lead. Three minutes later, Boston tied up the game following a corner kick delivery from Heather O'Reilly that found the head of Mariah Nogueira.

Neither side managed to break the deadlock for a lengthy spell despite Boston putting five shots on frame in the first half. The visitors nearly gained the lead in the 25th minute when Sydney Leroux out-paced three Spirit defenders into the penalty box but her low strike on frame was deflected by Ashlyn Harris. The Breakers finally got the ball in the back of the net in the 42nd minute. Julie King lobbed the ball into the box for Rhian Wilkinson who headed it over the head of the Spirit defense for a sliding Lianne Sanderson who clipped the ball into the near post. The Breakers led 2-1 going into halftime.

The Breakers reversed the order of things as they scored first in the second half. In the 47th minute, an aggressive Boston side was eager to extend their lead. Harris blocked Joanna Lohman's low strike but failed to keep possession. Wilkinson took advantage of this mistake and picked the ball away from Harris and clipped it into the net. The Breakers doubled their lead to 3-1 before scoring their fourth straight goal ten minutes later.

The Breakers got lucky on their fourth goal after the Spirit conceded a penalty kick for taking down Lohman inside the box. Heather O'Reilly converted the from the spot, sending Harris the wrong way. The Spirit would trail Boston by three goals until the 73rd minute when German international Conny Pohlers scored her first goal of the season. Stephanie Ochs was the provider. Washington had cut the Boston lead in half but it wasn't enough, and Boston would have the final say.

Five minutes the visitors provided the coup de grace. From a corner, Cat Whitehill found a loose ball at the near post to drive it low into the net beyond Harris' reach, putting Boston up 5-2 over Washington.

Portland Thorns FC vs Chicago Red Stars, Final Score 3:3

It appeared as though Portland were on their way to earn three points at home until the 75th minute when Chicago struck back with two goals to grab a point.

Portland entered Sunday's match in fight mode. It was a crucial game to help Portland mathematically secure a spot in the play-offs. With such pressure on their shoulders, it didn't take long before the Thorns conceded a foul for their aggressive style of play. Tobin Heath tackled Chicago captain Lori Chalupny to ground from behind, causing the Red Stars to lose their strongest attacking player in the 17th minute to an ankle injury.

Christine Sinclair opened the scoring in the 23rd minute with her first of two goals that night. The Thorns were awarded a free kick outside the penalty box, which was taken by Heath. The U.S. midfielder didn't wait for Chicago to form their wall before lobbing the ball Chicago wall for a running Sinclair who took a quick touch to direct the ball to the far post.

Chicago struggled to counter Portland's 1-0 lead and for the remainder of the first half, the Red Stars failed to put a single shot on frame.

At the start of the second half, Portland still led by a goal and looked to double their advantage early on as Sinclair broke from through defense and past Erin McLeod, but hesitated to shoot on at open net instead took an added touch and found side netting.

In the 55th minute, Mana Shim managed to get the Thorns' second goal after pouncing on a misguided clearance from Red Stars defender Sonja Fuss. Alex Morgan attempted to score from the edge of the penalty box but her shot was deflected by Fuss and fell to the feet of Shim. The former Santa Clara Bronco then chipped the ball over McLeod's head to make it 2-0

The Red Stars cut the Portland lead in half after Alyssa Mautz hit a powerful shot outside the penalty box into the tp right corner. Unfortunately for the visitors, they ended up two goals in the red once again; the Thorns scoring their third goal of the night in the 63rd minute through Sinclair.

With a 3-1 scoreline it appeared that the Thorns would ride out the match with three points until the 75th minute when Mautz struck with a header that took an awkward bounce into the net. The Red Stars played the closing minutes of the second half in desperate search for the equalizer.

It ended up coming thanks to Julianne Sitch. The Thorns' defense was put under pressure as Chicago maintained a steady stream of attacks into the box. In the 86th minute, Rachel Quon swings the ball into the box but it was poorly cleared by the defense and fell to Sitch, who lobbed it over LeBlanc's head, ensuring the match ended in a draw.

Sky Blue FC vs FC Kansas City, Final Score 0-1

FC Kansas City cushioned their lead in the tournament with three points on the road, defeating the former top seeded team Sky Blue FC 1-0.

Sky Blue was disadvantaged entering Sunday's match. Not only was the match delayed by two hours due to poor weather conditions, but the New Jersey club was forced to play without both Caitlin Foord and Kelley O'Hara.

It took 76 minutes to find a goal. Courtney Jones , a second half substitute, was the one to break the deadlock, her goal coming off an assist by Lauren Holiday. Holiday's delightful corner kick skimmed across the face of goal and allowed Jones to redirect it into the net. That would be enough for a 1-0 FCKC win.

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