Nadia Nadim, Sam Kerr Score in 2-0 Road Victory; Cameron Records Shutout
Sky Blue FC (4-7-5, 17 points) picked up a critical three points against the Houston Dash (5-6-5, 20 points) at BBVA Compass Stadium on Friday night, winning the season series against the Dash behind a 2-0 road victory. The match, which was aired live on FOX Sports GO, saw goals from forwards Nadia Nadim and Sam Kerr, with goalkeeper Brittany Cameron recording the shutout with another stellar performance in net.
“We were able to catch a couple of breaks tonight, and we capitalized on them,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Technical Director & Head Coach. “The whole team had a really good performance. We were able to avoid some potential letdowns in the first half and started the second half with a high level of intensity that we needed to come away with the win.”
After some back-and-forth action that saw Sky Blue FC get the better of the possession, Houston had its first dangerous opportunity in the 27th minute. On the sequence, Dash striker Melissa Henderson turned on a ball from the left flank and fired it towards the frame. Continuing her impressive season was Cameron, who put a diving hand on the ball before it was cleared away by defender Lindsi Cutshall.
Sky Blue FC eventually broke the deadlock in the 38th minute. On the scoring play, Australian forward Sam Kerr centered a ball from the left flank, where Kelley O’Hara stretched to place it at the feet of defender Caitlin Foord just outside the left post. Levin then touched the feed before chipping it across the mouth of the goal, where Danish striker Nadia Nadim was able to put away a diving header to give the road side a 1-0 advantage.
Both teams continued to battle as the game maintained a one-goal differential, thanks in large part to some critical saves from Cameron and some well tracked balls by the Sky Blue FC backline.
In the 72nd minute, Sky Blue FC was able to add an insurance tally. On the series, Kerr was able to collect possession and raced toward the penalty area as the Houston defense attempted to collapse on her. Kerr then tried to step around defender Ella Masar to create some space on top of the 18-yard box, firing a ball that Masar was able to block. However, the rebound landed right back at the feet of Kerr, giving her just enough room to hammer a hard shot that was outside the reach of Flash goalkeeper Erin McLeod. The scoring strike quickly hit the back of the net, and Sky Blue FC saw itself with a 2-0 lead that it would never relinquish.
“It was almost like a half-court basketball game in the second half,” Gabarra reflected. “They came out and pressed a little higher, which made our back four a bit hesitant to come out. Seeing that our defenders were having to play in a more defensively defined role, our attacking players stepped up and evened our play on the other side of the field.”
With the win, Sky Blue FC has now won three of its last five contests, and the only loss for the New Jersey side was a heartbreaker last Saturday night when the Western New York Flash put away a game-winner in the 89th minute.
“This team has been consistent with their attitudes and team spirit,” Gabarra concluded. “When our World Cup players returned, it was an additional boost for our team chemistry. It is a credit to every player on this team that they have hung in there and fought through a lot of adversity. I am proud of the way this team has maintained their positive spirit, and we look to carry that momentum into the remaining four games of the regular season. Our goal has always been reaching the playoffs, and that is where our focus remains.”
With Friday night’s win, Sky Blue FC currently trails the Dash by three points for the fourth and final playoff spot with four games remaining on its regular season slate.
Sky Blue FC will have a quick turnaround after tonight, next playing on Wednesday, August 12th, in an afternoon matinee with the Chicago Red Stars. The team will then return home to Yurcak Field on Saturday, August 22nd, hosting Portland Thorns FC at 7:00 PM.
Individual and group tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at tickets.skybluefc.com or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash
August 7, 2015 – BBVA Compass Stadium
SBFC 38 N.Nadim (C.Levin)
SBFC 72 S.Kerr
SBFC – Cameron, Rampone, Foord, Cutshall, Levin, O'Hara, Stanton, Freels (Lytle-87), Killion, Kerr, Nadim
Substitutes Not Used: Bledsoe, Haagsma, Goodson, Filigno
HOU: McLeod, Masar, Pressley (Axon-77), Brush, Klingenberg, Andressa, Brian, Lloyd, Ohai, McDonald, Henderson (McCarty-69)
Substitutes Not Used: Henninger, Camila, LaPonte, Jackson
SBFC 45 S.Killion (Yellow Card)