Photo by Robyn McNeil.
Sky Blue FC (1-6-4, 7 points) fell to Portland Thorns FC (3-3-4, 13 points) on Friday night, suffering a 2-1 road defeat at Providence Park. Sky Blue FC took a first half lead in the contest but was unable to overcome a penalty kick/red card decision in the second half of play.
“In the first half, I thought we were clearly the better team and created more chances,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Technical Director & Head Coach. “Having a penalty kick and a player sent off in the second half forced us to make an adjustment for which we did not have an answer. With that said, I feel that we battled really hard, despite being down a player, and we still created some opportunities to come away with a point. Overall, I am really proud of the way our players performed tonight, and we will continue to move forward as a team.”
This match saw the return of Australian defender Caitlin Foord, who returned to Sky Blue FC after recently completing participation in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. With her addition to the lineup, Sky Blue defenders Lindsi Cutshall and Cami Levin were provided more chances to get involved in the attack.
Sky Blue FC opened the scoring in the 27th minute on a play that started off the feet of midfielder Taylor Lytle, who was able to touch around a couple of players to create space in the center of the field. She then turned upfield and saw a direct angle where she was able to split three defenders to place a ball onto a speeding Katy Freels on top of the penalty area. Freels then touched her way into a 1v1 situation with Thorns netminder Michelle Betos, immediately chipping the ball over her head before Betos had the opportunity to close the gap. With the strike, Sky Blue FC saw itself with a 1-0 advantage.
Portland eventually leveled this match in the 70th minute in an unfortunate turn of events for Sky Blue FC. In the 68th minute, Levin made a hard tackle of Thorns forward Ayo Anonma inside the box, and the whistle was blown for a penalty kick. After a delay, the officials on the field decided to issue a straight red card to Levin in the 69th minute, forcing Sky Blue FC to play with 10 players the rest of the way. Taking the ensuing 70th minute penalty kick was midfielder Allie Long, who was able to score the equalizer.
In the 79th minute, Portland took a 2-1 advantage following a play that started from the left flank, where defender Alyssa Kleiner delivered a ball across the mouth of the frame. The recipient would be midfielder Sinead Farrelly, who headed it into the back of the net for her team’s first lead of the evening and what would equate to being the game-winning goal.
Sky Blue FC will now return home to Yurcak Field on Saturday, July 11th, to host Portland in a homecoming game that is slated to include its World Cup participants. Individual game tickets for Sky Blue FC home matches are on sale now. Fans who order tickets for the July 11th match prior to the conclusion of Sunday night’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Final can save $5 per ticket by using the code SHEBELIEVES at tickets.skybluefc.com or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
Sky Blue FC vs. Portland Thorns FC
July 3, 2015 – Providence Park
SBFC 27 K.Freels (T.Lytle)
PTFC 70 A.Long (Penalty)
PTFC 79 S.Farrelly (A.Kleiner)
SBFC – Cameron, Grubka (Goodson-90), Cutshall, Levin, Foord, Stanton (Diederich-88), Haagsma, Gordon (Killion-75), Lytle, Freels, Nadim
Substitutes Not Used: Bledsoe, Breton
PTFC: Betos, Van Hollebeke, Williamson, Menges, Kleiner, Long, Kyle, Johnson (Comeau-90), Farrelly, Shim (Terry-60), Ayo
Substitutes Not Used: Kruger, Jackson, Bennett, Haycook
54 PTFC K.Kyle (Yellow)
56 SBFC N.Stanton (Yellow)
69 SBFC C.Levin (Red)
80 SBFC C.Foord (Yellow)