Photo by Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos.
New Jersey Clubs Defends Yurcak Field to Earn 1-0 Result
Sky Blue FC (6-4-4, 22 points) continued to prosper in National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday night, shutting out the Washington Spirit (8-3-2, 26 points) at Yurcak Field, 1-0. Recording the blank sheet in net was 2016 NWSL College Draft selection Caroline Casey, while fellow 2016 draft pick Leah Galton was responsible for the game-winning goal.
“We are obviously delighted with the outcome of the game,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We asked some players to work in different positions tonight, and every single player who stepped onto this field gave us a top class performance. It truly speaks volumes about the amount of respect and belief that every player has in one another, as well as their hunger to push through and do whatever it takes to get another win in front of a fantastic group of fans.”
Sky Blue FC opened its account in the 24th minute, with defender Erin Simon playing a ball that split Spirit defender Whitney Church on the sideline to find the feet of a racing Galton. The British international then touched her way into the box before reaching the end line, where she turned and rifled a top-shelf ball into the upper netting to give her team a 1-0 advantage.
Immediately after the ensuing kickoff, Sky Blue FC defender Erica Skroski intercepted a Spirit ball over the top and one-touched it forward Catherine Zimmerman. The New Jersey native then pushed right before a serving a ball up top for Tasha Kai, who timed a perfect run to gather the distribution behind the Washington back line. Seeing herself in a 1v1 situation with Spirit netminder Kelsey Wys, Kai knocked the ball to her right foot before looking to strike it under Wys, who was barely able to make a fingertip save of the attempt.
The 58th minute of this contest was exemplary of the workmanlike effort of Christy Holly’s side, which consistently exerts every ounce of effort into each play. On a very dangerous sequence for Washington, forward Cheyna Williams turned into space inside the area before looking to fire a point blank shot. However, Sky Blue FC defender Kristin Grubka sped onto the scene and gave up her body, causing a deflection with her foot that made the ball swirl and hit the near post. The rebound then landed right at the feet of Spirit midfielder Joanna Lohman, who was standing directly in front of the goal. Lohman struck a ball towards the net, only to see Sky Blue FC defender Erica Skroski give up her body and block the shot with her left foot. Lohman then stepped right to collect the deflection, but Grubka once again hit the ground to cover any angles to the frame. The ball then rolled towards the end line, where Casey was able to clean it up.
Throughout the remaining half-hour of this contest, both sides continued to battle, with Casey and the Sky Blue FC back line coming up big when it needed to make a difference, and the New Jersey attack providing a spark to complement the intensity throughout the field.
The strong performance shined to the final whistle of this encounter, and Sky Blue FC saw itself with a well-deserved 1-0 victory when time had expired.
Sky Blue FC is now 4-1-3 in its last eight matches and won its third consecutive game for the first time since the end of the 2014 season. Washington suffered just its third defeat of the 2016 season, with two of those losses being dealt to them by Sky Blue FC.
After the game concluded, Pine Belt of Lakewood Player of the Match honors were given to midfielder Nikki Stanton, who came up big for Sky Blue FC in the absence of Sarah Killion and Raquel Rodriguez in the middle of the field.
Sky Blue FC will now hit the road for its final fixture before the Olympic break, traveling to the Spirit next Saturday night to finish off the season series. With a win or draw, Sky Blue FC would claim the series and acquire critical tiebreaker possibilities.
Sky Blue FC will return home to Yurcak Field on Saturday, August 27th, hosting the Chicago Red Stars at 7:00 p.m., and tickets for that match are available now. Additionally, all fans who eat at Quaker Steak & Lube in Edison before the game will receive free parking for the match.
Flex and individual tickets for Sky Blue FC are on sale now! 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: Washington Spirit
Date: July 23, 2016
Venue: Yurcak Field; Piscataway, New Jersey
Weather: 95 degrees, hot
WAS: 0 0 - 0
NJ: 1 0 - 1
24 NJ T.Kai (E.Simon)
NJ: Casey; Simon, Grubka, Rampone, Skroski; Galton (Conheeney-83), Stanton, Gordon (Richardson-70, Lytle; Zimmerman (Hayes-67), Kai
Subs not used: Loyden, Goodson, Diederich
Head Coach: Christy Holly
WAS: Wys, Dyadasco, Johnson, Oyster, Church (Kleiner-59), Nairn, Huster, Lohman, Banini, Ordega (Stengel-45), Williams (Farquharson-80)
Subs not used: Haracic, Murphy
Head Coach: Jim Gabarra
Stats Summary: NJ / WAS
Shots: 9 / 17
Shots on Goal: 3 / 7
Saves: 7 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 5
Fouls: 5 / 8
Offside: 4 / 3
Referee: Matthew Kreitzer
Assistant Referee 1: Adrienne McDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Abigail Van Note
Fourth Official: Artur Sibiga
Pine Belt of Lakewood Player of the Match: Nikki Stanton