Santa Clara, Calif. (April 6, 2009) – Tiffany Milbrett came off the bench to spoil the Boston Breakers comeback with a goal in the 90th minute to lift FC Gold Pride to a 2-1 victory over the Breakers in the first-ever match for both teams in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) action Sunday evening in front of 6,459 fans at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.
Milbrett’s winner for FCGP (1-0) came against the run of play as the Breakers (0-1) had taken the momentum following a Kelly Smith equalizer in the 79th minute. Second-half substitute Stacy Bishop dribbled into the box and poked the ball thru to Smith in front of goal. Smith then touched the ball and rounded FCGP goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, settled and then blasted the ball into the top of the net.
Smith had a great chance for a second equalizer in the final minute of stoppage time when her 22-yard left-footed effort beat Barnhart but smacked the crossbar and went out of play.
Eriko Arakawa opened the scoring for the home team with a 15th-minute glancing header at the near post after some good build up and a Tiffany Weimer cross from the right edge of the penalty area.
Milbrett’s winner came after another second-half sub, Kandace Wilson, crossed and forced Boston goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill to punch ball away. The ball fell right to Millbrett in front of area, however, as she settled and blasted ball in center of goal before Luckenbill and the Breakers defense could block the ball off the line.
“We are disappointed, but I thought we had some good performances and some average ones out there,” said Breakers head coach Tony DiCicco. “We just need to get better consistency. It was an exciting game and I think it would have been a fair result as a tie, but they took their chances and we didn’t.
“I thought Kelly Smith was the class player out on the field for us today.”
The Breakers travel back to Boston for the team’s home opener on Saturday against Saint Louis Athletica at 7 p.m. at Harvard Stadium. Single-game tickets for all games, as well as group and season tickets are now on sale by calling 781-251-2100. For online orders, package details and a seating chart, visit www.bostonbreakers.com
Arakawa got the counter-attack going for the first goal by picking up a loose ball in Boston’s attacking third and giving to Formiga, who ran through midfield before dishing to Christine Sinclair on the left side. The Canadian international then centered back to Arakawa, who left it back to Carrie Dew, who then distributed on the flank to Weimer for the cross to Arakawa.
The Breakers settled after the goal and went on the attack – with Smith and Amy Rodriguez being a constant attacking threat throughout the rest of the match. Rodriguez had her first of two opening-half chances on goal when she stole a ball in the back after the Brazilian Erika misplayed the ball and had a clear path to goal in the 18th minute – only to have Barnhart come out and get the stop.
Smith then set up a pair of chances for Boston with a couple of surgical through balls. First in the 32nd minute, from about 10 yards into her own defensive half, Smith sent a long pass on the ground into the path of Christine Latham. Latham took the ball in the box and centered for Rodriguez, but the ball was cleared away before she could get a touch.
Three minutes later, again starting from midfield, Smith dribbled into space and placed the ball between two defenders for Rodriguez, who then had a left-footed effort saved by the leg of Barnhart in front of goal.
Formiga nearly added to the FCGP lead after she forced a leaping save from Luckenbill in the 62nd minute after stealing the ball just outside the box.
Boston’s attack picked up steam shortly thereafter. In the 68th minute, Kristine Lilly passed the ball along the left touchline for substitute Kelly Schmedes, who then sent a cross into the center of the penalty area for Rodriguez, but FCGP defender Rachel Buehler was there to close in and break the opportunity up.
Rodriguez was at it again in the 77th minute, this time providing the service herself from the right side of the area to Lilly at the far post, but the cross was just a little too high.
The Breakers got it right in the 79th minute with Smith’s tally, and then had a number of chances to add a second before and after Milbrett’s winner. The best perhaps in the 88th minute when Smith scooped up a clever ball over the top of the FCGP defense for Schmedes, who then touched the ball over the keeper, but also just over the crossbar.
April 05, 2009 – Boston Breakers vs. FC Gold Pride
GOALS 1 2 Total
Boston 0 1 1
FC Gold Pride 1 1 2
Minute Team Goal
15’ FC Gold Pride Eriko Arakawa (Tiffany Weimer)
79’ Boston Kelly Smith (Stacey Bishop)
90’ FC Gold Pride Tiffany Milbrett (UA)
FC Gold Pride: Nicole Barnhart, Rachel Buehler, Erika, Carrie Dew, Formiga, Leslie Osborne (Brandi Chastain, 65′), Leigh Ann Robinson, Kristen Graczyk, Christine Sinclair (Tiffany Milbrett, 69′), Eriko Arakawa (Kandace Wilson, 83′), Tiffany Weimer
Boston Breakers: Kristin Luckenbill, Alex Scott, Nancy Augustyniak-Goffi, Amy LePeilbet, Heather Mitts, Kasey Moore (Sue Weber, 81′), Kristine Lilly, Angela Hucles (Stacy Bishop, 72′), Kelly Smith, Christine Latham (Kelly Schmedes, 58′), Amy Rodriguez