Photo by Robyn McNeil.
Brittany Cameron Save of Late Penalty Kick and Rebound Preserves the Win
Sky Blue FC (5-7-6, 21 points) was able to defeat Portland Thorns FC (6-7-4, 22 points) on Saturday night in front of a record crowd for the team at Yurcak Field, with a sellout crowd packing the stadium to see a dramatic 1-0 result for the New Jersey club.
In the 87th minute of this match, a ball was sent into the right side of the box for Thorns forward Alex Morgan before landing at the feet of Canadian international Christine Sinclair. Sky Blue FC netminder Brittany Cameron then closed onto Sinclair in an attempt to jump on the ball, and she went down in the process. With the call, Portland was awarded a penalty kick opportunity.
After trainers checked out Sinclair, Portland striker Alex Morgan stepped over the ensuing penalty kick in the 89th minute. Following a quick whistle, she fired to her left, but Cameron was somehow able to make an incredible diving save of the attempt. However, the rebound landed right back in front of a wide open Morgan, who struck the deflection back on frame. As the ball headed towards the end line, Cameron dove in the opposite direction of the first save to again turn Morgan away and preserve the 1-0 result.
“I created the penalty, so the least I could do was help my team out,” Cameron said of the penalty kick. “We wanted to win as a team, and I apologized to my teammates for it after it happened. We discussed it, and then they told me ‘Alright, go fix it now.’ That is what we do. We pump each other up and have trust in each other, from the bench to the players on the field to the coaching staff. That is the amazing part of the game of soccer.”
Sky Blue FC opened the scoring in this contest in the 19th minute on a sequence that started off a left-footed volley from defender Christie Rampone in the midfield. The ball she sent forward landed at the feet of Danish striker Nadia Nadim, who touched it left for Sam Kerr on the flank. The Australian forward then cleared some space before striking a feed across the middle for Kelley O’Hara. The U.S. National Teamer beat her defender to collect the distribution before setting up a wide open Nadim in front of the frame, and she easily tapped it in for the go-ahead tally.
Both teams continued to battle on some good back-and-forth action through the middle minutes of this pairing, and Portland nearly got itself on the scoreboard in the 67th minute when a ball landed at the feet of Sinclair on the left corner of the penalty area. She then stepped into a hard shot that Cameron was able to punch away. The rebound fell back at the feet of Sinclair, who hammered a follow-up shot that ricocheted off the crossbar.
Chances were created by both sides over the remaining minutes of this fixture, with the dramatics of the late penalty kick denial by Cameron sealing the victory for Sky Blue FC.
“This was a really exciting game,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Technical Director & Head Coach. “In the end, there were a lot of goal scoring opportunities, and we were able to overcome some tough situations to get the win. I am really happy and gratified for the team, considering that these are the types of games that went against us in the first half of the season. In front of this crowd, it is very rewarding to show them such a quality product. Hopefully, this can go a long way to creating momentum for us off the field in the future.”
After a road contest with Seattle Reign FC next Saturday night, Sky Blue FC will close out its 2015 NWSL season on Wednesday, September 2nd, when it hosts FC Kansas City at Yurcak Field. 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).
Announced attendance was 5,547 fans, which is the largest for the team ever at Yurcak Field and second in franchise history (drew 6,053 fans at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater on August 5th, 2009.
Sky Blue FC was officially eliminated from playoff contention an hour after the conclusion of this match when FC Kansas City defeated the Boston Breakers, 3-0.
Sky Blue FC vs. Portland Thorns FC
August 22, 2015 – Yurcak Field
Piscataway, New Jersey
19 SBFC N.Nadim (K.O’Hara)
SBFC – Cameron, Rampone, Foord, Cutshall, Levin (Hayes-85), O'Hara, Haagsma, Killion, Freels (Lytle-75), Kerr, Nadim
Substitutes Not Used: Bledsoe, Gordon, Stanton, Grubka, Filigno
PTFC: Angerer, Williamson, Farrelly, Long, Kyle (Sanderson-46), Sinclair, Taylor (Morgan-60), Heath, Zerboni, Polkinghorne, Kleiner (Ayo-78)
Substitutes Not Used: Betos, Shim, Johnson, Van Hollebeke
59 SBFC H.Haagsma (Yellow Card)
68 PTFC M.Zerboni (Yellow Card)
89 SBFC B.Cameron (Yellow Card)