Sky Blue FC preserved a 42nd minute own goal by the Flash to take the win (Photo by Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).
Team Wins at Yurcak Field over Western New York Flash, 1-0
Sky Blue FC (1-0-0, 3 points) defeated the visiting Western New York Flash (0-1-0, 0 points) on Sunday evening, 1-0, opening its 2013 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season with a win at Yurcak Field. The team preserved a 42nd minute own goal to claim the victory, with goalkeeper Brittany Cameron earning the shutout in net.
When the opening whistle blew at 6:00 p.m., professional women’s soccer had officially returned to the State of New Jersey. The play was aggressive on the pitch from the onset of this match, with both sides pressing on the offensive end. The first huge opportunity of the game came in the 16th minute, when Flash midfielder Veronica Perez was taken down in the box for a penalty kick. Forward Adriana then stepped over the ball on the ensuing attempt and fired it to the left side of the frame. Perfectly timing her delivery was Cameron, who made a diving save to push the ball away from danger.
The action then continued at a rapid pace, with the flow of play moving quickly in both directions. Sky Blue FC created a great scoring chance in the 30th minute when midfielder Brittany Bock made a run forward and headed a feed to the left side of the penalty area. There to receive it was forward Danesha Adams, who put a touch towards the goal, only to see Western New York netminder Adriana Franch make a play on the shot attempt.
In the 42nd minute, Sky Blue FC earned its first goal of the NWSL era following a corner kick from Adams to the far side of the box, where defender CoCo Goodson was then able to just put the edge of her foot onto the ball. The ball then redirected off Flash midfielder McCall Zerboni and into the back of the net for an own goal. The hometown team saw itself with a 1-0 advantage, and it would hold that lead until the two clubs broke for intermission.
The second half got underway with a bit more controlled pace, but both teams remained focused on pushing to the offensive end of the field. In the 57th minute, Sky Blue FC nearly added to its advantage after striker Lisa De Vanna received a ball while racing through the center of the Western New York defense. She then created just enough space to fire a shot towards the frame, but Franch was able to make a fingertip save of the well placed attempt.
De Vanna once again came within inches of increasing the Sky Blue FC lead in the 70th minute when she broke loose in front of the goal after making a quick turn on her defender. The Australian striker then struck the ball forward, but Franch once again stretched out to keep it a one-notch differential.
Second half substitution Monica Ocampo got herself immediately involved in the Sky Blue FC attack when she came onto the pitch on the 69th minute, using her speed to create multiple opportunities for herself on the right flank. After coming close to giving her team some cushion on the scoreboard, this contest saw the intensity increase dramatically as the final 10 minutes approached.
Sky Blue FC received a huge scare in the waning moments of this match when Flash striker Abby Wambach received a ball at the top of the penalty area and spun towards the net. Cameron then closed on her and dove towards her feet. The U.S. National Team forward continued to battle for the ball as Cameron attempted to clear it from danger, and she was then able to get a solid shot towards the frame. The strike sailed just high of the crossbar, and Sky Blue FC was able to exhale after a game-ending goal kick was sent towards the middle of the field.
Next up for Sky Blue FC is an April 27th match with the Washington Spirit. The team will next return home on Wednesday, May 8th, when it hosts the Chicago Red Stars at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that game are available now and can be purchased by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (723-2849).