Ocampo Delivers Late Heroics for Sky Blue FC

Mexican striker Monica Ocampo scores two late goals to level terms for Sky Blue FC (Photo by Howard C. Smith).

Mexican National Team Striker Finishes with Pair of Goals in Final Seven Minutes of Match

The drama was intense at Yurcak Field on Wednesday night, with Sky Blue FC (8-2-3, 27 points) earning a 2-2 result with FC Kansas City (6-4-2, 20 points) following a pair of late goals from 63rd minute substitute Monica Ocampo in the final seven minutes of the match. With the result, both clubs earn a point and Sky Blue FC finds itself alone atop the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) Standings, with idle Portland Thorns FC returning to action on Sunday.

“I’ve been saying it all year. We’re not a team that relies on a single person to score,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra said after the match. “We’re a very spread out team, and we’ve done a great job of having different players step up and score goals when we need it.”

After Sky Blue FC had kept the ball on its offensive end for the majority of the opening minutes of this contest, FC Kansas City started a run up the right flank in the 14th minute that saw forward Erika Tymrak end up with the ball in the center of the field. Sky Blue FC defender Coco Goodson made a nice play on the ball as it began to settle in front of Tymrak, but the slippery conditions caused Goodson to lose her footing. Tymrak then raced upfield to find herself in a 1v1 situation with Sky Blue FC netminder Brittany Cameron, and she quickly fired an unassisted tally into the back netting to give her side an early 1-0 advantage.

Sky Blue FC nearly answered just two minutes later on an offensive set that midfielder Katy Freels created by maneuvering through the box to the right side of the penalty area. With the ball at her feet, the Auburn product turned back towards the middle of the field and dealt a hard roller to Canadian midfielder Sophie Schmidt, who then fired a shot attempt that Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart was able to manage.

Both sides continued to battle throughout the remaining minutes of the opening half, and each team saw itself create some chances on the offensive end of the field. However, the scoreboard remained the same until the first half concluded, and FC Kansas City took its 1-0 edge into the locker room at intermission.

In the 59th minute of this pairing, Sky Blue FC created a dangerous opportunity that started off a 40-yard free kick by Schmidt. After the Canadian playmaker struck a curler towards the top of the 18-yard box, midfielder Taylor Lytle quickly settled before turning and tapping a feed to Freels. Once the ball touched off the feet of Freels, she sped onto a run on the left side of the box where striker Danesha Adams delivered a pass in front of her. Freels then ran onto the distribution and immediately struck a shot towards the frame, but Barnhart was again in position to make the stop.

FC Kansas City increased its lead to 2-0 in the 74th minute of this match-up on an unassisted notch from forward Lauren Cheney. After acquiring the ball just outside the penalty area, the U.S. National Teamer used some crafty footwork to slice through the center of the Sky Blue FC defense and find herself alone with Cameron. Seeing the opportunity in hand, she fired a hard shot towards the far-side post that ripped into the back of the net, despite an outstretched Cameron getting a hand on the strike.

Staring down a two-score differential, Sky Blue FC was far from seceding in this game. The host side got itself within a goal of the visitors in the 85th minute on a play that started off a free kick on the left offensive flank by captain Christie Rampone. The New Jersey native put a nice touch on the kick, placing it on the far side of the penalty area for midfielder Kelley O’Hara. After gathering the distribution, O’Hara put a quick touch on the ball to the front of the frame, and Mexican National Team striker Monica Ocampo was there to finish the feed. With five minutes remaining until stoppage time, Sky Blue FC found itself trailing by just a single tally, 2-1.

With level terms in its sight, Sky Blue FC continued to turn up an even more aggressive tempo, and it would pay dividends in the final minute of injury time. After a ball had been cleared by the FC Kansas City defense, Rampone collected on her own side of the field and sent a ball back to the offensive end of the pitch. Midfielder Manya Makowski then gathered the delivery before tapping it over to Freels on the right side of the box. After gaining possession, Freels looked straight across and immediately drove a feed to the front of the goal for Ocampo, who was able to bang home an equalizing tally with just seconds on the clock.

“I’m really happy for the result and the work I did with my teammates,” Ocampo stated after the win. “My first thought when I went in was try to tie or win the game.

“It feels really good. I’m thankful to Coach Gabarra for giving me the opportunity to play.”

Next up for Sky Blue FC is a road match on Sunday when the team travels to Dilboy Stadium to play the Boston Breakers at 7:00 p.m. The next home pairing for Sky Blue FC is Saturday, July 6th, when it welcomes the Washington Spirit to Yurcak Field at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that game are available now and can be purchased by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (723-2849).

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