As the Boston Breakers prepare for the WPS 2011 season, we need someone to cover them here at The Offside. If you’re a fan or interested in getting into the team, or if you just think that Boston-area women’s soccer deserves a bit more coverage, go to http://www.theoffside.com/bloggers and send in your application. You could be here sharing your thoughts on the team in just a few days.
(Photo: Andrew Katsampes | isiphotos.com)
Defenders score so infrequently that they should take a moment — right now — to work out in their minds what they will do when they score a goal, especially one of the quality of Alex Scott’s in the Breakers’ home tie against the Washington Freedom back on May 17th. This should prevent some embarassing moments and also raise the general entertainment value.
Rather than describe Alex’s blast from 25 yards, I’ll give over to her report on her blog on FoxSports …
Tony told me at half time i was making good runs and to keep on doing it, so thats all i did, no major change to my game. In the 49th minute, the ball got played into latham, who like always holds the ball up well. I overlaped down the right and she found me with a sweet through ball … that i ran onto, i could here kelly smith screaming for it in the box i do not know why i chose to ignore her because if you have kelly screaming for the ball of all players you want to pass the ball to it would be her because you know she can create magic, but for once i thought WHY NOT and i smacked that small piece of leather that we call a soccer ball (football if you are reading this back home) and it flew into the back of the net…
I love this piece of confession: ‘… WHY would you not pass to Kelly in the box?’
Alex continues …
My celebration was really whack. If i could go back and change that i would, i do not even think i did anything,ha. Now the oscar speach… i would like to thank Latham for her assisat, i would like to thank my teammates …
Alex was so surprised at her first WPS goal that her reaction was very cool: a little like, ‘it happens all the time’ … she really didn’t know what to do. Given her lack of preparation, she might have done some really dorky & contrived defender-type celebration thing — like row a boat, rock the baby, take off her shirt, etc. So — although Alex is cute — we were really quite fortunate there.
What interested me most is Alex’s report that her goal came after specific shooting work in practise that week …
Everyday at training Tony Dicicco allows players to work on things they may think is a weakness in their game or just generally to improve at the end of training. If you are a goalkeeper you tend to have to go out early before training to get a strong session in before the main one actullay starts. Sometimes Lisa Cole (assisstant coach) and kaite Shields (goalkeeper coach) will select some players who think will help the goal keepers work. Last week i went out early with a few other teammates and worked on crossing. This week the goalkeepers were going out early and lisa and katie had not asked me…gutted. I think a few of us still went out early hoping we may get in the session anyway. I think Lisa felt sorry for me and asked me if i wanted to join in and help the goalkeepers, well i answered… yeah why not, when really i was jumping up and down inside because i knew it was a shooting session (as a defender you are normally on the other side of drills like this) so i joined in. There was only 3 of us shooting, christine lilly, maggie tomaka and myself. We had a little competition going on with the keepers the whole session, they would say something like… “you will only score 6 out of 30 strikes”, to challange themselves and to challange us. Let me just tell you, sorry goalkeepers, but we beat them in all the drills!! we was hitting some sweet strikes.
Chalk one up for DiCicco. The goal came because Alex had not only visualized success in practise but she put success into effect in practise. This is what’s called practising well. And applause to Tony DiCicco for making it discretionary, which is to say ‘fun‘. By extension (and this is my basic point), part of that visualization exercise ought to be, “What am I going to do before we all get to the corner flag?” Something original, I hope; that would seal it.
It is also encouraging to hear that DiCicco has challenged Heather Mitts and Alex Scott, both, to get goals this year. Latteral backs playing up the field and forcing the opponent to play deep in their own end — and scoring from wide positions — will add a needed dimension to the Breakers’ threat, while it would also take pressure off Kelly Smith who too often carries the load up front.
Watching the Breakers v Sky Blue FC highlights from the weekend, you wouldn’t be blamed for doing a double-take after seeing Alex Scott at left back … and Heather Mitts at right back.
(Photo: Samuel Hiser | hiserfotograf)
Heather had sustained an injury to her left groin which prompted a return in Piskataway to her natural position at right back (where demands on her left side would be less). Alex, for her part, is such a complete athlete that swapping to left back presented no problem: she would just as likely fill in at Striker or Keeper without putting a foot wrong.
Christine Latham’s suspension for throwing a frustrated elbow in the 51st minute against the Washington Freedom is being upheld by the League. She’ll return to eligability on June 17th when the Breakers face FC Gold Pride at home in the midweek.
Kelly Smith’s knee remains a question. We await news from the team on status. Against Sky Blue FC she knocked it going in against her England teammate Anita Asante. “I don’t know what I’ve done, but I’m obviously limping a little bit,” she said. The Sky Blue FC doctor had looked at her knee in New Jersey and her ACL seemed in good shape. Smith rejoined, “I did hear some kind of crack in there.”
(Photo: Samuel Hiser | hiserfotograf)
Breakers fans will want to follow the other side of Kelly Smith through her weekly column back home in The Daily Mail, where she comments on her England duties as well as WPS activities.
Fresh off the Breakers’ home victory over the LA Sol (2 to 1 at Harvard Stadium May 2nd), Kelly’s column entry will have caught the tactical eye …
“All good …” | Daily Mail – Football | May 4, 2009
The Breakers were headed to LA in the second week of May for the second of a home & home series. Kelly mentions a detail that Coach DiCicco absorbed approaching their first meeting. This is Kelly writing …
Next up is LA on Saturday evening. They’re on top of the league, four points ahead of us, but we face them again next week, too, so we have the chance to turn the tables.
Their front line is awesome – with Marta, Camille Abily and Aya Miyama – but our coach has had a look at them and thinks their back line isn’t the best technically. So we’re going to attack and try to pen them in when we can.
The follow-up match on May 10th in Los Angeles at the Home Depot Center resulted in a tie at nil. It goes into the “Oh, well” column. So much for technical defending. To be fair, the idea of technical defenders is one Tony DiCicco executes very well for his own account: latteral backs, Alex Scott and Heather Mitts, are two of the Breakers most technically gifted players.
Brian O’Connell interviewed Amy at Breakers Media Day (March 8, 2009)
Amy, a forward, helped USC to the 2007 NCAA Division I championship and assisted Carli Lloyd’s overtime gold-medal game-winning goal against Brazil in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympic Games.
The question for Tony DiCicco: Why isn’t Amy starting? (Here she is, warming up before the May 2nd win against the LA Sol.)
Amy came on late against the Washington Freedom last weekend and her ability to hold the ball up and move it about spryly gave the exhausted Kelly Smith time to get into dangerous positions while the Breakers collected behind. (Too bad Kelly was abused and spent by that time, and the Breakers couldn’t get the go-ahead.) Boston Breakers 1:1 Washington Freedom at Harvard Stadium (May 17, 2009). The match was televised here in the US on Fox Soccer Channel.
Unless Rodriquez is recovering from injury, it’s unclear why she’s not getting the 90 minutes. If others were more potent up front and provided better support to Kelly Smith — whose silky left foot is a constant danger — then the question would be moot. In mitigation (and you might see a bit of DiCicco’s thinking here), Amy coming on in the 60th or 75th minute against tired legs will tend to have a certain desired effect on the scoreline, hypothetically speaking.
Breakers are off this Memorial Day weekend while the National Teams compete.