Sam Kerr Scores for Sky Blue FC in Wednesday Afternoon Road Fixture
Sky Blue FC (4-7-6, 18 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Wednesday afternoon, playing the second place Chicago Red Stars (7-2-7, 28 points) to a 1-1 draw at Benedictine University Stadium. Registering the goal in the match for Sky Blue FC was forward Sam Kerr, who now has four goals and a pair of assists in just six games for the New Jersey club this season.
“I am disappointed for the players because I feel we played well enough to leave here with three points,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Technical Director & Head Coach. “Chicago is a difficult team to play, and I was very pleased with how we performed outside of the first 20 minutes. In the second half, we really instilled our will and style of play, and we did a very good job of creating chances.”
Chicago had a number of opportunities in the early going this afternoon and eventually finished one in the 15th minute. On the scoring play, Red Stars defender Julie Johnston sent a ball to the left flank from the midfield, where it eventually landed in space for Arin Gilliland. The Chicago defender then dealt a hard feed to her right where forward Adriana Leon was awaiting. The Canadian international wasted little time in finishing the go-ahead tally, making it 1-0 in favor of the home side.
This contest was equalized in the 36th minute following an incredible sequence from Kerr. The Australian striker gathered in the midfield before racing down the center of her offensive half, where three Red Stars defenders collapsed on her. Despite the triple-team, Kerr somehow found the space to set up a right-footed rocket that tucked inside the right post and beyond the reach of Chicago netminder Michele Dalton. With the notch, this match was level at one goal apiece.
Sky Blue FC gained momentum following the equalizer, and it was in much better control of possession over the second half of this outing. The New Jersey side nearly found the go-ahead tally in the 49th minute off a well-placed Kelley O’Hara corner kick, placing a ball on the head of midfielder Hayley Haagsma across the mouth of the frame. Haagsma turned on the header for what appeared to be a sure-goal, but Leon held down the far post and was there to clear it from danger.
Both teams continued to battle for the game-winner as this game progressed, and Sky Blue FC did well with creating some good chances on the offensive end. The 85th minute again saw Sky Blue FC come within inches of taking the lead after defender Cami Levin rifled a shot from the left side of the penalty area, but Dalton was able to tip it over the crossbar.
When all was said and done in this tightly contested match-up, the 1-1 score line remained.
Sky Blue FC will now 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. Chicago Red Stars
August 12, 2015 – Benedictine University Sports Complex Stadium
15' CRS Leon (Gilliland)
36' SBFC Kerr
SBFC – Cameron, Rampone, Foord, Haagsma (Stanton-77), Cutshall, O'Hara, Levin, Lytle (Killion-56), Freels, Kerr, Nadim (Filigno-84)
Substitutes Not Used: Bledsoe, Goodson
CRS: Dalton, Gilliland (Lominicki-46), Johnston, Johnson, Quon, Colaprico, Chalupny (Huerta-82), DiBernardo, Hoy, Leon (Mautz-69), Press
Substitutes Not Used: LeBlanc, Hemmings, Tancredi, Walls
64 CRS L.Chalupny (Yellow Card)