Captain Christie Rampone logged her first minutes tonight since hoising the 2009 WPS Championship Trophy (Photo by Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).
Defender Christie Rampone Returns to Action for Sky Blue FC
West Chester, Penn. (Sunday, June 6, 2010) - Sky Blue FC (3-3-2, 11 points) hit the road today for its first meeting with new regional rival, the Philadelphia Independence (4-2-2, 14 points), and it battled the opposition for 90 minutes before coming up a goal shy, 2-1. The road side got its lone tally of the night off a Rosana to Laura Kalmari notch, and the team also saw defender Christie Rampone return to action for the first time since giving birth to her second daughter, Reece.
"We created chances on the goal line, but we just weren't able to put them away," Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen said after the game. "We just need to do a little bit more work on moving faster off the ball, and we will be able to capitalize on those opportunities."
Philadelphia wasted little time in this match, with forward Amy Rodriguez finding captain Lori Lindsey on the right flank in the third minute. After receiving the ball from nearly 20 yards out, Lindsey saw just enough space to have a shot on goal and delivered a hard strike towards the frame. After sailing right, the ball curled back towards the frame and then slotted itself into the right upper 90. The shot was just out of the reach of a diving Karen Bardsley, giving the home side an early 1-0 advantage.
Sky Blue FC did not let that early score discourage them, and the team immediately fought itself back even on the scoreboard. Brazilian playmaker Rosana gathered possession of the ball in the center of the field in the 11th minute and delivered a volley into the Independence penalty area. There to receive the feed was Finnish international Kalmari, who one-touched the ball to her left to split the defense and gain a little bit of space. Before Philadelphia goalkeeper Val Henderson could close the gap on her, Kalmari powered an attempt past the outstretched arms of the Independence netminder. The notch was a team-leading fourth on the season for Kalmari.
The scoring in this game did not stop there, and fans would see the third tally of the evening in just the 28th minute. Philadelphia striker Lianne Sanderson started the scoring play by dishing a pass over to Rodriguez on the left side of the frame. She then spun towards the goal and chipped a ball just over a diving attempt by Bardsley. The score regained the lead for the Independence by a count of 2-1, and the host side would hold onto that advantage until the whistle blew for halftime.
The second half got underway with neither team letting up on its energetic approach, and possession began to play a pivotal role on the flow of the action. A momentous burst came for Sky Blue FC in the 56th minute when Rampone checked in for her first minutes of the season. In a classy move by Kacey White, she immediately gave Rampone the captain's band before she had even come off the field.
"The first thing Kacey did was come straight to me with the captain's band, and it is a truly special feeling to be treated in such a manner by your teammate," Rampone stated. "As far as the game was concerned, everything on the ground felt good today. The next step will be to get more minutes so I can really begin to feel more comfortable. Overall, it's just exciting to be back!"
The back line was immediately cohesive with Rampone on the pitch, and the Monmouth University graduate did a nice job of setting up plays for the Sky Blue FC offense. The team was able to place some dangerous balls into the penalty area, but Henderson and the Philadelphia defense were able to prevent any damage from being done. When the final seconds ticked off the clock, the 2-1 tally in favor of the Independence remained.
The next game action for Sky Blue FC comes next Sunday when the team travels to New England for a road pairing with the Boston Breakers. The team will return to New Jersey on Saturday, June 19th, to host Philadelphia, and tickets for that game are available now by calling 1-888-SBFC-TIX.