NWSL: Breakers lose keeper Smith with knee injury

In just her second start, highly regarded rookie keeper Abby Smith suffered a season-ending knee injury, another blow for the Boston Breakers, who have lost all four NWSL games by shutouts.

Smith, drafted at No. 27 overall out of Texas in this year's College Draft, was injured in the first half of the Breakers' 1-0 loss to Chicago when she came out to attempt to break up a shot by Jen Hoy. There was no contact on the play. She had to be replaced by Lilly Stout, who has played in France and England. Smith was diagnosed with a strained ACL and torn patellar tendon. Smith had gotten her first start of the season a week earlier because of a quad injury to Stout.

The Breakers re-signed goalkeeper Jami Kranich, who started eight games during the 2015 season, to back up Stout. They traded U.S. national team backup Alyssa Naeher to Chicago for national team defender Whitney Engen and draft picks. Naeher earned her third straight shutout in the win for the Red Stars over Boston.

“Losing Abby is a blow, purely and simply because she came in and did really well against Portland and Chicago," Breakers head coach Matt Beard said. "It’s disappointing for her because she got herself into the team with Libby’s injury. I had a good chat with her yesterday. Obviously, she’s down, but she’s also motivated to have the surgery, begin rehab and get back as quickly as she can. From that perspective, she’s in a positive mindset, and the girls have been brilliant with her. It’s not nice to happen, especially in your rookie year, but she can become a stronger person and better goalkeeper off the back of it. When you go through something like she’s going through over the next six months, it makes you appreciate being on the pitch a lot, lot more.”

Boston had earlier lost Sinead Farrelly, acquired from Portland in October, after she was hurt in an offseason car accident. She is on the 45-day disabled list.

-- The Breakers, who have lost seven straight games dating back to the 2015 season, signed German forward Eunice Beckmann from Bayern Munich in a bid to jumpstart their attack. The 24-year-old Beckmann did not score in nine appearances (two starts) for Bayern this season as it won its second straight Bundesliga title. She had scored nine goals in 2014-15.
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