Marta struts stuff
Brazilian star beats Breakers
Marta doesn’t need much of an introduction when she steps on a soccer field. The Brazilian star is considered one of the most respected players in the women’s game, and the Boston Breakers spent much of the week leading up to last night’s WPS contest with the FC Gold Pride preparing just for No. 10.
Despite the effort, Marta still found a way to convert her scoring chances, collecting both of her team’s goals in a 2-1 win against the Breakers at Harvard Stadium last night.
“It’s hard to neutralize her,’’ Breakers coach Tony DiCicco said. “Most of the game we did contain her, but she’s the type of player that gets a couple of chances and unfortunately she put them both away.’’
Marta displayed why she has such respect of her peers, using her speed to get ahead of the defense and score her second and third goals of the season in helping the Pride to their fifth consecutive win. She had the support of many in the crowd of 5,283 at last night’s match.
Marta scored twice in the first half, giving the Pride the lead in the 15th minute when she sprinted along the right side and caught up with the ball about 10 yards in front of the goal, then finished by chipping the ball home.
The Breakers responded seven minutes later when Lauren Chaney shuffled a pass toward Kelly Smith. The slow roller reached Smith with just enough speed for her to redirect it toward the goal and past Pride goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart. The goal ended a two-match scoreless streak for the Breakers, but didn’t trigger an offense that has struggled.
Marta scored in the 37th minute on a similar play as her first score, getting behind the defense for an open shot.
For a team that lacks scoring, facing an opponent that leads the league in offense posed a challenge for the Breakers. The Pride entered with a league-high eight goals. Whatever offensive opportunities the Breakers created, they were unable to convert. In the second half, Fabiana had a clear shot from the right side of the net but the ball went wide of the goal.
Pride coach Albertin Montoya said of all the teams his group has faced to this point, the Breakers provided the biggest challenge.
“This is the toughest game we’ve played yet,’’ he said. “I think they created more chances than anyone else has against us this season.’’
The only win for the Breakers this season was a 2-1 victory in the season opener against the Washington Freedom. It’s the only time this season the Breakers (1-2-3, 6 points) have scored more than one goal.
“I’m frustrated because we’re not scoring even though we’re playing some pretty good attacking soccer,’’ DiCicco said. “It’s one goal in three games and you’re just not going to be able to get points in this league with one goal in three games.
“We just have to do a better job.’’
Monique Walker can be reached at email@example.com.