CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Ella Masar's first two career Women's Professional Soccer goals led the way in the Chicago Red Stars' 2-1 win over the Boston Breakers at Harvard Stadium on Friday.
Chicago is 3-5-3 (12 points) as the league heads into the midseason All-Star Game on Wednesday. It's also the first win for new head coach Omid Namazi, who took control of the team after Emma Hayes was let go last month.
"Ella is the type of player that's going to come in and give you a lot of energy. She has good pace. She's strong," Namazi said after giving Masar her third start in 11 games this season. "Ella gives us a different look with pace in being able to get in behind defenders. The plan worked to perfection. Her two goals were by us getting in behind them and her poking it [in]."
Masar's first goal came in the 12th minute of a first half that Chicago completely controlled, taking advantage of a flat performance from the Breakers. Red Stars forward Cristiane flicked a pass from Jillian Loyden over the Breakers defense that Masar was able to chip over Boston rookie keeper Alyssa Naeher, who came out of goal to challenge for the ball.
Boston came out quickly in the second half and pulled even with a goal from midfielder Fabiana seconds after halftime. The Red Stars recovered and were eventually able to beat the Boston defense for the winning score in the 79th minute. Defender Marian Dalmy passed to Masar in the center of the field. Masar pushed it past Naeher, who again traveled too far out of net to try to make a play on the ball.
"It's been a long year and a half," Masar said after finally putting her name on the scoresheet. She played in 16 matches for the Red Stars last season, tallying two assists.
Despite her two-goal effort, the University of Illinois graduate and Urbana native was reluctant to take credit for tallies.
"I can't do it without my team. It's been a constant grind for all of us and the credit goes to them," she said. "The ball got lucky and got through. ... [Cristiane and Dalmy] played great balls and I happened to be there."
Chicago continues its four game road trip on July 4 against the Washington Freedom. The Red Stars currently sit in fifth place, just one spot away from the final playoff spot, with more than half the season remaining.
"We fought back there," Masar said. "We just want to go one game at a time. We have 13 games left now."