Photo by Robyn McNeil.
Australian Sam Kerr Scores Game-Winner in First Appearance of 2015 Season
On a Saturday night that saw its FIFA Women’s World Cup stars honored during pre-game introductions, Sky Blue FC (2-6-4, 10 points) got back on the winning side, blanking Portland Thorns FC (3-3-5, 13 points) by a count of 1-0. Australian forward Sam Kerr scored the game-winner of the match in her first-ever appearance in a Sky Blue FC kit, with goalkeeper Brittany Cameron recording the shutout in net.
“This was a great atmosphere tonight, and the team really fed off the energy of the crowd,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Technical Director & Head Coach. “We still have a pathway ahead to get us where we want to be, which is obviously in the playoffs. It won’t be easy, but our destiny remains in our own hands.”
The opening half of this match was a battle for possession in the midfield, with both clubs looking to establish some kind of offensive rhythm as they sought after the go-ahead tally. Sky Blue FC had its best opportunity created in the 40th minute, as Kerr raced down the right flank before sending a ball into the box to fellow Matilda Caitlin Foord, who was unable to get a clean touch on the feed. After an attempted clearance by the Portland back line, Danish striker Nadia Nadim tracked it down before firing a hard shot on frame that was collected by Thorns netminder Michelle Betos.
Sky Blue FC was finally able to break the deadlock in the 52nd minute, starting off the feet of midfielder Sarah Killion. The 2015 1st Round Draft Pick put a ball over the top of the defense from the midfield, where defender Maya Hayes gathered by the left corner flag before crossing into the penalty area. Making a perfectly timed run on the distribution was Kerr, who one-timed a header into the back of the net to give the hosts a 1-0 advantage.
The home team held onto that lead and nearly found an insurance goal in stoppage time, with Nadim setting up a racing Kerr as she was entering the 18-yard box. Kerr then put a quick touch on the ball to beat her defender, firing a hard shot that just grazed the outside of the far post.
Sky Blue FC continued to maintain its momentum to close out this encounter, but it did come with a couple of late scares. Fortunately for the New Jersey club, Cameron rose to the occasion and made a pair of critical late saves to keep the slate clean.
“I just wanted to come in here and make an impact for our team,” Kerr stated after the win. “I thought we played really well the whole game, and we controlled the flow of the game. We had more chances, and I feel I was a bit unlucky to not score that second goal at the end. As a team, we look to build off this win and continue the momentum into next week.”
With the victory tonight, Sky Blue FC brought a 10-game winless streak to a halt.
Sky Blue FC next heads north to the Western New York for a road match-up on Sunday, July 19th. The team next returns home on Saturday, July 25th, hosting the Boston Breakers for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff at Yurcak Field.
Individual game tickets for Sky Blue FC home matches are on sale now and can be purchased online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
Sky Blue FC vs. Portland Thorns FC
July 11, 2015 – Yurcak Field
Piscataway, New Jersey
SBFC 52 S.Kerr (M.Hayes)
SBFC – Cameron, Foord, Grubka, Cutshall, Hayes, Stanton, Lytle (Filigno-88), Freels, Killion (Gordon-60), Nadim, Kerr
Substitutes Not Used: Bledsoe, Haagsma, Goodson, Diederich
PTFC: Betos, Menges, Williamson, Shim (Haycook-92), Farrelly, Ayo, Long, Kyle, Johnson (Comeau-89), Van Hollebeke (Terry-68), Kleiner
Substitutes Not Used: Kruger