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Independence beat Breakers, 2-0, in home opener for first win

Tasha Kai, Lianne Sanderson and their Independence teammates had been anxiously awaiting their first win since the Women's Professional Soccer season started for the Chester-based team on April 10.

Natasha Kai scored the game's first goal for the Independence last night. (AP file photo)
Natasha Kai scored the game's first goal for the Independence last night. (AP file photo)Read more

Tasha Kai, Lianne Sanderson and their Independence teammates had been anxiously awaiting their first win since the Women's Professional Soccer season started for the Chester-based team on April 10.

They wait no longer.

In their home opener Sunday at Widener University's 4,500-seat Leslie Quick Stadium, Kai and Sanderson each scored in a 2-0 victory over the Boston Breakers.

"It feels awesome to get that 'W' on our home opener," Kai said. "It feels really good to come out with three points."

That was the first step in a season that has 15 games remaining, followed by three playoff rounds. The Independence hope to reach the final for the second straight season.

Considered a playoff-caliber team in the six-team league, the Independence had a solid performance against a .500 team. They set a fast tempo and challenged the Breakers to keep up.

The Independence are now 1-1-1 after drawing with New Jersey's Sky Blue, 2-2, and losing to the Florida-based magicJack, 2-1. Boston is 2-3.

Sanderson, a midfielder, scored the second goal of the game in the 53d minute when she booted in a rebound off Boston keeper Alyssa Neaher.

"It wasn't just about winning; we had a great performance," Sanderson said.

Midfielder Tina DiMartino started the play from the right side of the net when she fed forward Amy Rodriguez with a cross. When Rodriguez fired, Sanderson had to be skillful with the rebound.

"The angle was quiet acute where I hit the ball from," Sanderson said. "I was almost behind the line, but I knew what I was doing. It was one of the best finishes I've done because of the angle."

DiMartino, who came to the Independence last June after the St. Louis Athletica folded, had scored in the first two games.

Kai broke a 0-0 deadlock 41 minutes, 16 seconds into the first half with a spectacular play. The speedy forward launched a shot from about the 10-yard line that slammed inside of the right post and bounced out to the right, where Kai kicked the rebound past Neaher for the score.

The crowd chanted "Let's Go, Kai" as the Independence celebrated their sparkplug's first goal of the season.

Boston's golden opportunity to score came in the first half when former Philadelphia Charge midfielder Kelly Smith made a quick turn with the ball to the right of keeper Nicole Barnhart and fired at close range. However, Barnhart got a hand up to deflect the ball over the net.

at 856-779-3826 or biezzi@phillynews.com.