Breakers fall in WPS Super Semifinal

Updated: September 24, 2010, 1:50 AM ET
By Jacqueline Purdy | Special to

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The Boston Breakers got a controversial and abrupt ending to a solid season, and the debate about instant replay got another poster goal as Boston lost its Super Semifinal playoff game to the Philadelphia Independence 2-1 in extra time at the new Soldiers Field at Harvard University.

[+] EnlargeDanesha Adams
Andrew Katsampes/ISIPhotos.comDanesha Adams (19) scored Philadelphia's game-winning goal on a controversial header.

After regulation ended tied at 1-1, the Independence's Danesha Adams went up for a header in the 104th minute to beat Breakers keeper Alyssa Naeher for a goal. But it appeared that Adams hit the ball into the net with her hand, and Boston defenders asked for referee Kari Seitz to rule it as a handball. The goal stood.

"One hundred percent it was a handball, and to lose the game like that is just heartbreaking," said Breakers defender Alex Scott, who was the nearest player to Adams on the play. "Hand all the way. It went over her head. I was right behind her. I couldn't believe the ref didn't see it. Even her teammates weren't celebrating. She wasn't celebrating because it was so obvious."

Adams insisted that she hit it with her head.

"No, it did not. It did not hit my hand," she said. "It hit the side of my head. My hand was up because I was protecting myself from hitting the post, but I did not hit the ball with my hand. It [was] my head."

Adams was on the receiving end of a cross from Tina DiMartino, and went up high in the air to bring it down. She said she wasn't sure the ball had crossed the line, and didn't know it was a goal until her teammates started celebrating moments later.

"I just stuck my head in there. It hit the side of my head."

Philadelphia will now face first-place FC Gold Pride, led by four-time FIFA Player of the Year Marta, in the WPS Final on Sunday.

Former Breaker Amy Rodriguez assisted on Philadelphia's first goal, scored by Caroline Seger in the 29th minute. Boston rookie Lauren Cheney opened up the scoring with a goal in the 24th minute.

Boston finished the season in second place, earning the right to a first-round bye and to host the Super Semifinal. Boston suffered a nine-game winless streak in the middle of the season, but stormed back with a 9-3-2 run to make the playoffs.

Jacqueline Purdy, an editor for, covers women's soccer for She can be reached by e-mail at Follow her on Twitter.