Photo by Jose Argueta, ISI Photos.
Sky Blue FC Falls in Seven-Goal Road Match to Washington Spirit, 4-3
Sky Blue FC (1-2-1, 4 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday, coming out on the wrong side of a seven-goal fixture with the Washington Spirit (1-2-1, 4 points) at the Maryland SoccerPlex, 4-3. Pacing the Sky Blue FC attack with a brace was midfielder Sarah Killion, while forward Kelley O’Hara registered a goal and an assist to earn Saker ShopRites Woman of the Match honors.
“We are extremely disappointed to come away from a game with a loss after scoring three goals,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We had too many lapses in concentration defensively, and we paid for it. Despite the outcome, we will look to focus on the positives that we can take away from tonight. Going forward, we will have great confidence in knowing we can cause problems for any team we play.”
Sky Blue FC began creating some good chances as soon as the opening minute of this match-up, but it was Washington who would strike first on the counter attack. In the 6th minute, Spirit midfielder Line Sigvardsen Jensen gathered possession on her offensive end before feeding a ball to forward Francisca Ordega inside the penalty area. Ordega then quickly collected before slotting a shot under Sky Blue FC netminder Kailen Sheridan to make it 1-0 in favor of the host side.
It was not long until Sky Blue FC was able to level the count, as Australia international Sam Kerr ran down a ball on the left flank before turning to play midfielder Taylor Lytle on the left corner of the 18-yard box. Seeing space in front of her, Lytle fired a shot that Washington goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe was able to deflect away, but O’Hara was right there to collect and fire a top-shelf strike that equalized the contest at 1-1.
The seesaw battle then swung back in favor of the Spirit in the 25th minute, as midfielder Tori Huster played Ordega into the box. Ordega then slipped a shot past Sheridan, where defender Erin Simon unfortunately saw her clearance attempt redirect the ball into the net for an own goal. With the score, Washington found itself back on top, 2-1.
The Spirit then stretched their lead to 3-1 in the 34th minute, once again with Ordega playing a major role in the conversion. After collecting a ball inside the center circle, Ordega turned and played a through-ball that split two defenders and found midfielder Havana Solaun into a wide-open area with only Sheridan to beat. The Canada international aggressively came off her line in an attempt to close the gap, but Solaun was able to put away the opportunity and give her team a two-goal edge, 3-1.
After a couple of near scores at the start of the second half, Sky Blue FC found the back of the net in the 50th minute. On that successful series, Lytle sped through the midfield before finding O’Hara inside the area. After being played, O’Hara then turned and slipped a through-ball to Killion on the far post, and the Sky Blue FC midfielder calmly slotted the feed under Labbe to tighten the deficit to 3-2.
In the 56th minute, the scoreline was again stretched to a pair of goals. On the Washington conversion, Solaun played Ordega into space, where Ordega touched around Sheridan before tapping the ball into the net, making the tally 4-2 in favor of the host side.
After that Spirit notch, Sky Blue FC remained on the attack and eventually earned a penalty kick attempt when second half substitute McKenzie Meehan was taken down inside the box in the 70th minute. Stepping over the ensuing try was Killion, who fired a hard strike into the left-side netting for her second goal of the night, making it 4-3.
Over the remaining 20-plus minutes of this contest, Sky Blue FC continued to battle for the equalizer. Unfortunately for the visitors, their efforts were matched by Labbe, who was able to prevent any further damage. When the final whistle had blown to conclude the action, a 4-3 final for Washington was the result.
Sky Blue FC will next play the Houston Dash in back-to-back telecasts of the NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week. First off, the team will travel to Houston on Saturday for a 4:00 p.m. kickoff with the Dash before returning to Yurcak Field on Saturday, May 20, to host that same Houston side for a 4:00 p.m. meeting. Tickets for that match-up are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
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. Washington Spirit
Date: May 6, 2016
Venue: Maryland SoccerPlex; Boyds, Maryland
Weather: 58 degrees, rainy
NJ: 1 | 2 - 3
WAS: 3 | 1 - 4
6 WAS Francisca Ordega (Line Sigvardsen Jensen)
12 NJ Kelley O’Hara
25 WAS (NJ Own Goal)
34 WAS Hovana Salaun (Francisca Ordega)
50 NJ Sarah Killion (Kelley O’Hara)
56 WAS Francisca Ordega (Hovana Salaun)
70 NJ Sarah Killion (Penalty Kick Conversion)
NJ: Sheridan, Simon, Skroski, Freeman, Mills, Galton (Hayes-86), Stanton (Tiernan-62), Killion, Lytle (Meehan-69), Kerr, O’Hara
Subs not used: Casey, DeCesare, Richardson
Head Coach: Christy Holly
WAS: Labbe, Zadorsky, Church, Johnson, Kallman, Jensen (Williams-79), Howard, Huster, Solaun, Ordega (Agnew-90), Ship (Castleberry-65)
Subs Not Used: Thomas, Haracic, Kleiner
Head Coach: Jim Gabarra
Stats Summary: NJ / WAS
Shots: 16 / 8
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 5 / 8
Fouls: 8 / 10
Offside: 0 / 6
39 NJ Erin Simon (Yellow Card)
87 WAS Cheyna Williams (Yellow Card)
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Adrienne McDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Brooke Mayo
Fourth Official: Ali Saheli
Saker ShopRites Woman of the Match: Kelley O’Hara