Photo by Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos.
Sky Blue FC Earns Home Win over Dash at Yurcak Field, 1-0
Sky Blue FC (4-4-4, 16 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday night, defeating a resilient Houston Dash (2-7-1, 7 points) side at Yurcak Field, 1-0. The game-winning goal in the contest came by means of an incredible strike from midfielder Taylor Lytle, which was delivered to her by Pine Belt of Lakewood Player of the Match Sarah Killion.
“All of the credit for this performance must go to the players,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “As the season progresses, you can really see our connection coming together. Our team has a great understanding of one another, and they continue to gel and display fantastic teamwork. We made it a bit hard for ourselves at the end, but I had a supreme amount of confidence that we would close out the game. I could see how hungry our players were for the win, as well as their clear desire in playing for one another.”
Sky Blue FC has shown ever-improving development of its young roster this season, tonight starting all four of its 2016 NWSL College Draft selections (Raquel Rodriguez, Leah Galton, Erica Skroski, Caroline Casey), as well as both of its top draft picks from a year ago (Sarah Killion, Kristin Grubka) and another who came through open tryouts (Erin Simon) this preseason.
In the 23rd minute, Sky Blue FC put together a very creative play that began off the foot of Killion, who played a racing Sam Kerr on the right side of the area. The Australian striker then delivered a cross that was received by midfielder Taylor Lytle, who chipped it towards the far post. On a perfectly timed run was forward Tasha Kai, who put a diving header on the feed that was just wide of the mark.
Kai nearly found the go-ahead score once again in the 39th minute, as Killion placed a perfectly struck ball in front of her feet on the right flank. Kai quickly collected and found herself in a 1v1 situation with Dash netminder Bianca Henninger. Upon entering the penalty area, she briefly looked up before taking a shot that grazed just beyond the far post.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 54th minute when Killion collected and scoped out the attack from about 10 yards on top of the penalty area. She then saw Lytle with some space and played her distribution. Lytle then one-touched with her left foot before rifling a right-footed rocket into the left upper 90 to give the hosts a 1-0 advantage.
Over the final half-hour of this encounter, both teams continued to battle and created some scares on the offensive end of the field. Sky Blue FC nearly put away an insurance notch on a couple of occasions, while Casey and her back line kept it clean on the defensive side of the pitch. In the end, the 54th minute tally by Lytle would prove to be the difference when the final whistle was blown to conclude this well-contested match.
Recording the shutout victory in net for Sky Blue FC was Casey, who recorded her second win over four appearances this year.
Sky Blue FC will now hit the road next Sunday to take on the Boston Breakers before returning to Yurcak Field on Saturday, July 23rd, hosting the Washington Spirit. Tickets for that match are available now.
Flex and individual tickets for Sky Blue FC are all on sale! For any questions regarding tickets, call the Sky Blue FC tickets department at 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849), and a team representative will be happy to assist you.
For all of the latest news on Sky Blue FC, visit the team online and follow us on social media: @SkyBlueFC
NWSL Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash
Date: July 9, 2016
Venue: Yurcak Field; Piscataway, New Jersey
Weather: 77 degrees, overcast
NJ: 0 1 - 1
HOU: 0 0 - 1
54 Taylor Lytle (Sarah Killion)
NJ: Casey; Simon, Grubka, Rampone, Skroski; Galton (Zimmerman-90), Killion, Rodriguez, Lytle; Kerr, Kai (Hayes-79)
Subs not used: Loyden, Gordon, Stanton, Goodson, Diederich
Head Coach: Christy Holly
HOU: Henninger, Daly, Moros, Roccaro, Ohai, Brush, Brooks (Heap-79), O’Sullivan, Henderson (Ubogagu-68), Ochs (Crosson-79), Privett
Subs not used: Florio, Scheele
Head Coach: Randy Waldrum
Stats Summary: NJ / HOU
Shots: 16 / 8
Shots on Goal: 2 / 5
Saves: 2 / 4
Corner Kicks: 7 / 3
Fouls: 12 / 14
Offside: 2 / 1
55 SBFC Tasha Kai (Yellow Card)
Referee: Cuauhtemoc Delgadillo
Assistant Referee 1: Ian McKay
Assistant Referee 2: Alicia Messer
Fourth Official: Ben Pilgrim
Pine Belt of Lakewood Player of the Match: Sarah Killion