Photo by Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos.
Sky Blue FC (6-6-4, 22 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday night, falling to the Chicago Red Stars (8-4-4, 28 points) at Yurcak Field, 3-1. With the result, the New Jersey club saw a five-match home unbeaten streak come to a close.
“Obviously, we are disappointed with the result,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “When we look back at some of tonight’s defining moments, we will see that we did not win them, and that ultimately cost us the outcome of the game. Now, we will dig into the film to find the positives and make sure this result does not define our season.”
The opening half of play was extremely competitive between these two teams, with both goalkeepers being forced to be very active. An example of that occurred in the 27th minute, as Sky Blue FC netminder Caroline Stanley made an incredibly athletic save of a Stephanie McCaffrey shot attempt. On the play, she made a hard dive to her left to punch the ball over the crossbar.
Eventually, it was Chicago that broke the deadlock in the 31st minute. McCaffrey gathered possession on the right flank before rolling it with her foot just inside the area. She then looked up and struck a ball that initially appeared to be a cross, but it lofted over the head of Stanley and left her without much of an opportunity to make a play on it. Unfortunately for the hosts, the ball then hit the far post and redirected into the net to make it 1-0 in favor of the road side.
In the 38th minute, an incredible sequence happened right in front of the Red Stars goal. The series started with a ball being played into the area by midfielder Taylor Lytle, where forward Tasha Kai attempted to gather before it landed at the feet of Sarah Killion. The Sky Blue FC midfielder then hammered a shot that Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher was able to deflect, but the attempt then curled towards the line. There to clear it was defender Arin Gilliland inside the net, only to see Killion strike it back towards the goal, but Naeher was then barely able to get a hand on it to keep it clear of the line once again. As the ball dangerously bounced around in front of the goal, Sky Blue FC forward Sam Kerr was finally able to fire it into the back of the net, but the offside flag went up to nullify the equalizer.
Sky Blue FC came very close to leveling once again in the 51st minute, as British international Leah Galton raced down the left flank before crossing a ball into the area. Perfectly position for the feed was Kai, who saw her header hit the crossbar. Off the rebound, she then fired high of the mark.
In the final stretch of this encounter, the Red Stars were able to put away a couple of late scores to officially seize control. First, Christen Press slotted a Vanessa DiBenardo feed under Stanley in the 73rd minute to hang a 2-0 tally before Sofia Huerta made it 3-0 when she finished off an Arin Gilliland redirection from a DiBernardo corner in the 80th minute.
Sky Blue FC did eventually get on the board in the fourth minute of stoppage time, as Galton was able to cross a ball from the left side of the area that found the knee of Kerr to place the final 3-1 score line.
Sky Blue FC will now hit the road for a Sunday fixture with FC Kansas City next weekend. The team will return home to Yurcak Field on Wednesday, September 7th, hosting the Orlando Pride 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: Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars
Date: August 27, 2016
Venue: Yurcak Field; Piscataway, New Jersey
Weather: 83 degrees, sunny
CHI: 1 2 - 3
NJ: 0 1 - 1
31 CHI S.McCaffrey
73 CHI C.Press (V.DiBernardo)
80 CHI S.Huerta (A.Gilliland)
90+ NJ S.Kerr (L.Galton)
NJ: Stanley; Skroski, Rampone, Grubka, Simon (O’Hara-47); Rodriguez, Lytle (Conheeney-89), Killion, Kerr; Kai (Hayes-67), Galton
Subs not used: Casey, Goodson, Stanton, Gordon
Head Coach: Christy Holly
CHI: Naeher, Gilliland, Johnston, Johnson, Short, Colaprico, DiBernardo (Naughton-82), Huerta, Walls (Da Costa-83), Press, McCaffrey (Mautz-68)
Subs not used: Dalton, Gorden, Raetzman, Luba
Head Coach: Rory Dames
Stats Summary: NJ / CHI
Shots: 15 / 19
Shots on Goal: 10 / 4
Saves: 7 / 3
Corner Kicks: 3 / 9
Fouls: 2 / 8
Offside: 1 / 1
90+ CHI A.Mautz (Yellow)
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Amilcar Sicaju
Assistant Referee 2: Brooke Mayo
Fourth Official: Rosario Candela