The St. Louis Athletica struggled through poor conditions to earn a tie against the Boston Breakers today at the Anheuser-Busch Soccer Park in Fenton, Mo.
On a sloppy, muddy pitch, the Athletica came from behind to earn their tie with the Breakers in front of 3,300 brave fans.
Boston's goal came from a corner kick setup by midfielder Kristine Lilly. Defender Kasey Moore struck a one-touch shot low at the 18-yard box, sending it whistling past the St. Louis defense and goalkeeper Hope Solo.
The equalizer came only six minutes later when rookie Carolyn Blank netted the goal for St. Louis, redirecting a header from Tina Ellertson off her upper body. It was Blank's first goal as a professional soccer player.
"Honestly, right place, right time," Blank said after the game. "I just remember it bouncing around and being one of those chances where you try to get your body on it and get it in."
The come-from-behind goal was the Athletica's first in franchise history, having never earned a point after an opponent scored first. St. Louis had been 0-6-0 in games where they gave up the first goal. It was also the second time in Athletica history that the team had earned a point after giving up a goal in the first half.
The adverse conditions made the game memorable. In a close call for St. Louis, Kendall Fletcher played the ball back to Solo, but it died in a puddle directly in front of Boston forward Lauren Cheney. Her shot on goal went wide.
"I usually like to play when it's overcast, damp and a little wet," Solo said. "But these conditions were not good. After the first mishap, I didn't even want the ball played back to me."
In one of her best combination saves since joining St. Louis, Solo was able to recover after a rebounded shot by Kristine Lilly to stonewall a point blank shot by Kelly Smith.
Both squads slugged it out in the second half, but neither could find the back of the net.
"You never like to drop points at home," Athletica captain Lori Chalupny said after the match. "But this was a good effort and a good point."
The Athletica will travel to the Maryland SoccerPlex next Saturday to take on the Washington Freedom.