De Vanna, Adams Lead Sky Blue FC with a Pair of Goals Each
Sky Blue FC (7-1-1, 22 points) erupted for five goals at Yurcak Field on Saturday night, rolling behind a two-goal effort from forwards Lisa De Vanna and Danesha Adams to defeat the visiting Boston Breakers (3-2-2, 11 points), 5-1. By earning the win, coupled with a loss earlier in the night by the Portland Thorns to the Chicago Red Stars, Sky Blue FC now finds itself in sole possession of first place in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Standings.
Among all of the excitement that occurred as a result of the victory, the clear highlight of the evening came in the 14th minute, when a great chip setup from midfielder Katy Freels resulted in an incredible bicycle kick finish by De Vanna.
On that scoring play, De Vanna distributed a pass to Freels on the left side of the box, where the Auburn graduate began working her way through the Breakers defense. De Vanna then circled to the center of the box before giving Freels a quick look and making an immediate sprint towards the goal. As soon as she saw the run get started, Freels immediately rolled the ball back to her right foot and chipped it over the Boston defense. Perfectly positioned for the feed was De Vanna, who turned her back towards the goal and struck a brilliant bicycle kick into the netting to make it a 2-0 match.
“I was a bit overwhelmed and shocked about it,” the Australian striker admitted. “I didn’t even realize it went into the goal until I saw Danesha’s face, and she looked so surprised. Then I just looked up and saw it go into the back of the net. I was just thinking ‘Wow, I just pulled off something fantastic!’”
Sky Blue FC first got on the board in the 7th minute of this match on a play that started in the midfield. Defender Caitlin Foord earned possession of the ball and began racing towards the offensive end of the pitch. Once she arrived at the top of the penalty area, she found De Vanna with space on the right side of the box. After showing some crafty footwork to give the offense time to catch up to the play, De Vanna split a feed through two Boston defenders and onto the feet of a streaking Adams, who turned and buried a right-footed strike inside the near post.
The lead was extended to 3-0 just three minutes later after Taylor Lytle began charging from the midfield with the ball at her feet. She dished over to Mexican striker Monica Ocampo, who settled and turned to her left to deal a pass to Freels. Mirroring that setup, Freels quickly turned and fed it back to Lytle, and the Texas Tech product quickly one-touched a hard roller under the outstretched arms of Breakers netminder Ashley Phillips.
With three goals in hand, Boston turned up its aggression, but Sky Blue FC was able to match that intensity and finish off the opening half with a three-goal advantage.
Sky Blue FC made it 4-0 in the 56th minute of this contest on a play that originated off a goal kick from reining NWSL Player of the Month Brittany Cameron. The boot never touched the ground before Adams was able to send a backwards header towards a racing De Vanna, and the Australian playmaker showed off her great footwork once again. After gaining possession, she quickly worked her way away around Phillips and easily touched it into the goal for her second notch of the evening.
A resilient Breakers side continued to battle as the match entered the 74th minute, and their hard work finally paid dividends. On what became the first goal of the night for Boston, forward Lianne Sanderson settled a ball just inside the penalty area and fired a shot that Cameron was able to touch with her fingertips. The ball then deflected off the top crossbar, and striker Kyah Simon was there to put it away. The tally by Simon ended a franchise record 435-minute shutout streak for Sky Blue FC.
Despite five balls already seeing the back of the net, the scoring had still not concluded in this game. In the 84th minute of action, Lytle distributed a pass to midfielder Nayeli Rangel on the right side of the penalty area. After receiving possession, Rangel was immediately taken down in the box to earn her team a penalty kick. Stepping over the ensuing attempt was Adams, who buried a hard shot to the left and into the goal for her second score of the match, making it 5-1 in favor of the hosts.
Leaving this contest in the 90th minute to a standing ovation was Cameron, and Ashley Baker stepped onto the field in her place while Adams taking the captain’s band she had been wearing. Little did Baker know that she would be called upon to face a penalty kick in the third minute of stoppage time, following a takedown in the box of Simon. Sanderson was called upon to take the kick, and she quickly struck it to the right side of the frame. Baker reacted perfectly to the attempt and made a diving save of the shot, sending her teammates into an uproar.
“We brought Ashley into the match because we saw it as a good chance for her to get some time. I certainly didn’t expect her to have to step up and save a penalty kick, though,” Gabarra laughed. “It was a great moment for her to shine, which she clearly did. It was a true reward for her hard work and the effort she has been giving in training.”
With the final danger of the game being thwarted away, Sky Blue FC saw itself with a 5-1 victory.
“Today, we showed that we have some real depth,” said Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra, who was referring to the players who stepped up in place of those missing due to national team commitments. “We have players on our roster who are ready to step in when called upon, and they proved that they can take care of roles very well.”
Next up for Sky Blue FC is a home pairing next Saturday evening against the Western New York Flash at Yurcak Field, with kickoff set for 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that game are available now and can be purchased by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (723-2849).