Photo by Robyn McNeil.
Crystal Dunn Brace Leads Visiting Spirit Past Sky Blue FC, 3-1
Sky Blue FC (1-1-1, 4 points) suffered its first defeat of its 2015 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) season on Sunday night, falling to the visiting Washington Spirit (2-1-0, 3 points) at Yurcak Field, 3-1. Leading the way for the Spirit was Crystal Dunn, who registered a brace in the contest. With the loss, Sky Blue FC sees a franchise-record seven-match unbeaten streak come to a close.
“Washington was able to punish us tonight on the counter,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Technical Director & Head Coach. “We squandered some chances throughout the game, and we need to rectify those problems going forward. As deflating as their three goals were, I give credit to our team for continuing to battle back.”
Washington got on the board first in this encounter following a change of possession in the midfield. On the play, Spirit forward Francisca Ordega drove into a 2v1 situation with Dunn overlapping to her left. Ordega spotted her on the run and quickly fed Dunn, who immediately struck a hard shot beyond the reach of Sky Blue FC netminder Brittany Cameron to give the visiting side a 1-0 advantage in the 6th minute.
In the 32nd minute, Sky Blue FC nearly leveled this match on a series that started off the feet of midfielder Shawna Gordon on the left flank. Overlapping her was Kelley O’Hara, and Gordon put a ball in space for her before O’Hara centered it to the front of the frame. Initially, the cross was deflected to the top of the 18-yard box, where midfielder Sarah Killion hammered a shot off the top crossbar. Forward Maya Hayes then positioned herself to put a header on target, but Washington goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was able to collect the attempt.
Before the close of the opening half, Dunn was able to strike again for the visiting Spirit in the 40th minute. After being delivered a well-placed feed from the midfield, Dunn ran into a 1v1 situation and fired a point blank shot that Cameron was somehow able to punch away. Unfortunately for the home club, Dunn was there for the rebound and struck the ball into the open net. With the tally, Washington took a 2-0 lead into the locker room at intermission.
When the second half got started, Washington increased its advantage to three goals in the 48th minute. First, Ordega collected on the left side of the penalty area before sending a hard roller to the front of the frame, where midfielder Christine Nairn one-timed a hard shot into the back of the net.
Sky Blue FC then responded in the 62nd minute on a well-orchestrated play that started from a free kick by captain Christie Rampone in the midfield. After striking the ball forward, O’Hara continued its trajectory on a header that found Danish striker Nadia Nadim on the left side of the penalty area. Nadim then took a few touches to open up space before chipping to midfielder Katy Freels on the near post, and Freels was able to head the ball home to close the gap to 3-1.
The New Jersey side continued to battle over the final third of this match-up, but the 3-1 tally was maintained until the final whistle.
Sky Blue FC will return to Yurcak Field on Saturday, May 9th, hosting Seattle Reign FC at 7:00 PM EST. Individual game tickets are on sale now. Make sure you catch all of the world class NWSL action this season at Yurcak Field by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849)!
Sky Blue FC vs. Washington Spirit
April 26, 2015 – Yurcak Field
Piscataway, New Jersey
Sky Blue FC: 0-1-1
WAS 6 C.Dunn (F.Ordega)
WAS 40 C.Dunn
WAS 48 C.Nairn (F.Ordega)
SBFC 62 K.Freels (N.Nadim)
SBFC – B.Cameron, C.Rampone (C), K.Grubka (K.DeCesare-76), L.Cutshall, C.Levin, K.O'Hara, S.Gordon (M.Morris-60), K.Freels, S.Killion, M.Hayes, N.Nadim
Substitutes Not Used: A.Bledsoe, N.Stanton, L.LaBonta, T.Diederich
WAS: A.Harris, K.Reynolds, M.Oyster, A.Salem (J.Lohman-57), C.Nairn, F.Ordega, C.Dunn (A.DaCosta-80), A.Singer, T.Huster (C), E.Johnson, E.Banini (L.Del Rio-68)
Substitutes: C.Dydasco, W.Church, T.Weimer, K.Wys