2017 NWSL season review: Boston Breakers

Another year of Boston Breakers missing out of the playoffs. The 2017 season saw them struggle time and time again.

2017 NWSL season review: Boston Breakers
Rosie White was a key player this NWSL season | Source: Fred Kfoury III - GettyImages

When the Boston Breakers entered the 2017 NWSL season, they were looking to bounce back from the 2016 season. The end of the 2016 season saw them in 10th place, last on the table (3-2-15/ Win-draw-lose and with 11 points in 20 games. The Breakers in 2017 had hopes to make it out of the bottom of the table but they saw themselves fall short.The   Breakers ended the 2017 season (4-7-13) with 19 points and 9th overall on the table. The Breakers during the 2017 NWSL draft had 6 draft picks (tied with Sky Blue FC for most draft picks) and while Boston had Rose Lavelle for the first 3 and a half months, they lost her due to a hamstring injury during the USA’s friendly against Norway.

Boston’s defense was lead by Abby Smith and Captain Julie King, who played all but one match this season. Also in the defense was Megan Oyster who was traded by Washington, Brooke ElbyChristen Westphal and Canadian international Allysha Chapman. Their defense concede 35 goals during the season, the 4th most out of all the teams. The Breakers ended 9th overall, 4-7-13, 19 points,24 goals for and 35 goals against giving them a -11 goal differential.

Biggest Win of the Season:

The  Breakers biggest win of the season came in week 3 against the Seattle Reign, after a 1-0 win against Sky Blue.  The Breakers won the match 3-0,  with goals coming from Adriana Leon,  Lavelle and Natasha Dowie.  The first goal came in the 11th minute, Dowie sent in a cross which found the feet of Leon who dribbled it around three  Reign defenders before slotting it into the back of the net.  In the 12th minute Seattle got a shot on goal, a pass from Christine Narin found the feet of Megan Rapinoe who took the shot, which was cleared off the line by captain King.  Leon got her first assist of the match after she passed the ball up to the rookie Lavelle who forced Hayley Kopmeyer off her line and fires it in to make the Breakers lead 2-0.  The Reign had a few chances before the end of the half but the backline of  Chapman, Westphal, Oyster, and  King provided defense when the Reign moved closer to the net. The Breakers got off to a electric second half when they scored in the 52nd minute to give them the 3-0 lead.  Leon again found a pocket of space and lobbed a ball to the feet of Dowie. Dowie then went 1v1 with keeper Kopmeyer, who went the wrong way when the forward sent in the ball to the left side of the netting. The score went on to hold and Boston won 3-0,a  game that revamped their energy.

Biggest Defeat of the season

The biggest defeat in the Breakers season came against the Orlando Pride. The Pride won the match after a hard fought match ending 4-2 in favor of Orlando.  The goal scoring started when rookie Rachel Hill got a ball from forward Alex Morgan’s shot on goal and rebounded it into the net, giving the Pride a 1-0 lead. Hill got her first professional brace in the 15th minute, after a pass from Morgan.  Breakers had a few chances but the Pride’s defense held strong.  The second half started with both teams looking to get another goal, or to get on the board like Boston wanted to do which is what they did.In the 49th minute of the match when  Margaret Purce sent in a cross which found Amanda Frisbie who passed it low to Rosie White who found the back of the net. In the 67th minute,  Chioma Ubogagu  found Marta  who forced Smith off her line and fired it into the back of the net. The Pride kept pressing for more, and just 10 minutes later Ubogagu scored.  She dribbled up the middle of the pitch, passed 3 defenders and sent the ball calmly to the net,where it hit the post before going in. Breakers got another onto the board off of a set piece. Leon sent in a corner, where it found King’s head where she placed it into the back of the net. The match ended 4-2 in favor of Orlando

Team MVP-Abby Smith

The team MVP, for sure goes to Abby Smith. She’s second in league stats for most saves with 85.  Due to her performance throughout the season. Smith has been called up when the National Team played against Norway and Sweden, and for the Tournament of Nations in July of 2017.  Smith made a record 6 saves in the win against Seattle earlier in the season, and won save of the week in week 6. During the 2017 season she started and played 19 matches and totaling 1710 minutes.Smith also got 3 shutouts, helping her team to get victories and much needed points.

Morgan Andrews 3 overall pick for Boston//Source:Fred Kfoury III -GettyImages
Morgan Andrews 3 overall pick for Boston//Source:Fred Kfoury III -GettyImages

Player with an off season-Morgan Andrews

To a relatively active Breakers season, Morgan Andrews  had a quiet season. While she played in 18 matches(starting in 10) she lacked goals and assist which when she was at USC she had 22 goals during her time there. You thought she would of been getting goals left and right when she joined the Breakers.And for being a rookie she actually had a decent season.  Hopefully during the 2018 season, she’ll start getting the goals, because she could really be the one that helps Boston to a playoff spot.

Improvements for 2018

The 2017 season was an improvement for Boston, they weren’t last on the table and started winning more matches. But still, the question holds: what do they need to do to get into the playoffs?  Just like the draft helped them this year, the 2018 draft will be key to get some good players into the team.  Boston needs to start working harder, and getting a better team chemistry if they want to excel in 2018.