Photo by Nicole Gamard, ISI Photos.
Spirit Claim Result at Maryland SoccerPlex, 3-1
Severe weather on Saturday night forced a Sunday morning kickoff in National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action, with the host Washington Spirit (9-3-2, 29 points) defeating Sky Blue FC (6-5-4, 22 points) at the Maryland SoccerPlex, 3-1. The result snapped a season-high three-game winning streak for Sky Blue FC, which saw its lone tally of the contest scored by forward Tasha Kai.
“We are obviously disappointed with the result and our overall performance,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “Both individually and collectively, we know that we can play much better. However, one setback is not going to make us lose sight of what we have achieved so far this season, nor will we lose sight of what we want to achieve throughout the remainder of the year.”
The Spirit created some dangerous opportunities on set plays over the first half-hour of this contest, particularly on a pair of corner kicks that saw them have multiple chances before eventual Sky Blue FC clearances.
Washington was able to put away the first goal of the match in the 28th minute, as Spirit forward Katie Stengel ran down a ball on the line before passing to midfielder Johanna Lohman. At the same time, Estefania Banini was speeding through the center of the Sky Blue FC box. Lohman then played Banini, who quickly gathered before slotting the ball inside the left post to give the hosts a 1-0 advantage.
Soon after that score, Sky Blue FC was able to capitalize on a mistake in the 33rd minute, as Washington defender Megan Oyster attempted to head a ball back to goalkeeper Kelsey Wys. Unable to get enough power on the playback, Kai raced onto the ball before Wys arrived, immediately striking away the equalizer to level this encounter at 1-1.
In the 39th minute, the Spirit was able to regain the lead, as forward Cheyna Williams collected distribution from defender Caprice Dyadasco in the middle of the box. After acquiring possession, Williams turned on a shot that cut inside the far post. With the tally, Washington eventually headed into the intermission with a 2-1 edge.
Kai nearly leveled again for Sky Blue FC in the second half after helping to create a pair of opportunities. The first one occurred in the 60th minute, as midfielder Raquel Rodriguez collected on the Sky Blue FC half and sent a ball forward for Maya Hayes on the left flank. Hayes then played into space before splitting two Spirit defenders and finding Kai as she entered the area. Kai then one-touched a nice attempt towards the goal that forced a kick save from Wys.
Two minutes later, Hayes was able to dispossess Oyster on top of the 18, which led to a ball deflecting to Kai. She then collected the rebound before running into the box with it, but her ensuing shot attempt was knocked away by Wys.
Washington eventually added an insurance goal in stoppage time, as forward Cali Farquharson first entered the area with the ball before a blocked shot by defender Kristin Grubka landed at the feet of defender Alyssa Kleiner on the left corner of the 18. Kleiner briefly settled before firing a left-footed shot that hit the back of the net.
The final whistle came shortly after that tally, giving the host Spirit a 3-1 result.
The NWSL will now take a month-long break for the 2016 Olympic Games, and Sky Blue FC will next play when it returns home to Yurcak Field on Saturday, August 27th, to host the Chicago Red Stars at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that match are available now, and 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 vs. Sky Blue FC
Date: July 31, 2016
Venue: Maryland SoccerPlex; Boyds, Maryland
Weather: 78 degrees, sunny
WAS: 2 1 - 3
NJ: 1 0 - 1
28 WAS E.Banini (J.Lohman)
33 NJ T.Kai
39 WAS C.Williams (C.Dyadasco)
90+ WAS A.Kleiner
NJ: Casey; Simon, Grubka, Rampone, Skroski, Zimmerman (Hayes-30), Stanton (Richardson-56), Gordon, Lytle, Galton, Kai (Conheeney-78)
Subs not used: Loyden, Killion, Goodson
Head Coach: Christy Holly
WAS: Wys, Dyadasco, Church, Johnson, Oyster, Dyadasco, Nairn (Kleiner-89), Huster, Lohman, Banini, Stengel (Ordega-80), Williams (Farquharson-66)
Subs not used: Haracic, Murphy, Jensen
Head Coach: Jim Gabarra
Stats Summary: WAS / NJ
Shots: 14 / 10
Shots on Goal: 7 / 5
Saves: 4 / 4
Corner Kicks: 10 / 3
Fouls: 7 / 11
Offside: 4 / 1
Referee: Victor Rivas
Assistant Referee 1: Sean Regan
Assistant Referee 2: Charles Carson
Fourth Official: Michael D’Angelo
Pine Belt of Lakewood Player of the Match: Tasha Kai