Washington Freedom, Boston Breakers struggle with wind in 0-0 tie

By Paul Tenorio
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, May 9, 2010

Fighting a swirling wind that hampered both teams' ability to play effectively through the air, the Washington Freedom and Boston Breakers played to a 0-0 tie in front of 4,198 at Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday night.

At times during the game, especially in the second half, the toughest task facing both teams was a whipping wind that blew in both directions on opposite sides of the field. Crosses and long balls hung in the air, causing trouble for defenders and making them nearly impossible to judge for players pushing forward.

The result was few quality opportunities for either team and no goals.

For much of the first half the Freedom (2-2-1) controlled the game, holding possession and controlling the pace. Washington was most impressive defensively, however, maintaining its shape on the back line and pressuring well in midfield, forcing Boston to revert to long diagonal balls over the top in search of a spark.

"You feel so exploited, especially in the midfield, because of how much space we're giving to the outside," defender Cat Whitehill said. "But right now we're kind of giving away a little with our shape in the midfield and then we collapse on people. People are exploiting it but we're holding and we have the good shape in the back."

While Boston (1-1-3) struggled to put much pressure on Freedom goalkeeper Erin McLeod early, Washington also lacked many prime scoring opportunities on the other end, especially as the game wore on and the wind picked up.

"I think the wind was probably our biggest factor," Whitehill said. "And it really disrupted us offensively because I think in the first half we had a good rhythm going but in the second half we couldn't get anything going because of the wind."

Note: Star forward Abby Wambach was injured in the 89th minute on a collision with Boston goalkeeper Ashley Phillips. Wambach's nose was bleeding and trainers and emergency personnel were treating her on the sideline after the game.

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