- The Washington Times - Friday, July 4, 2003

BOSTON — Despite having injured Mia Hamm for the entire game, the Washington Freedom played to a 1-1 tie last night against the Boston Breakers to extend their winless streak to five games.

“We came here to win,” said Washington coach Jim Gabarra. “Regardless of whether we’re playing at home or on the road, we need points in the standings.”

The draw pushed Boston (6-4-4) into a first-place tie with Atlanta as a season-high 8,105 fans watched the game at Boston University.

After more than 60 minutes of scoreless play, Washington defender Lindsay Stoecker got the Freedom (5-4-3) on the board with a left-footed boot from the top of the circle. Abby Wambach crossed a pass in front of the net, but it caromed off teammate Jacqui Little and back out to Stoecker, who put it past Boston keeper Karina LeBlanc.

But 4 minutes later, at 66:35, Boston responded with the equalizer. Breakers defender Heather Aldama received a loose ball and fired from 26 yards out past outstretched goalie Siri Mullinix. It was Aldama’s first career goal in her two-plus seasons in Boston.

“You have to credit Heather,” Hamm said. “That was just a clean strike. She knocked the ball into the corner extremely well. You have to assume in this league that everybody can strike one. … You have to get out there and put the pressure on that ball. But it was an amazing goal.”

Said Aldama: “No one was really stepping up to me, so I just shot it. I saw that [Mullinix] was cheating a little bit to the left, but I was basically just trying to shoot it.”

Hamm, who has been plagued recently by a strained right knee, said she felt fine during the contest.

“I just tried to get up and down the flank as much as I could,” she said.

Stoecker said she couldn’t recall all of what happened on her goal because of the bizarre deflection the ball took off Little.

“It kind of spit out to me,” she said. “I took it in and it hit my chest and thigh, so I figured, ‘I better shoot this.’”

Boston’s LeBlanc saw only two shots in the game. Mullinix stopped three of four shots on net.

Boston managed a goal less than 10 minutes into the game, but it was called back because forward Maren Meinert was ruled offside.

Washington’s best scoring chance in the first half came at 36:42 when defender Skylar Little sailed a pass in front of the net, where Hamm received it but headed it wide right.

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