Photo by Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos.
Sky Blue FC Remains Perfect at Yurcak Field with 2-1 Win Over Dash
Sky Blue FC (3-2-1, 10 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday, using late heroics by midfielder Raquel Rodriguez to defeat the Houston Dash (2-4-0, 6 points) in the NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week, 2-1. It was the second time this season that the Costa Rica international finished a game-winner in dramatic fashion at Yurcak Field, where Sky Blue FC is now perfect in two matches.
After Leah Galton earned a free kick opportunity from the left flank in the 84th minute, midfielder Daphne Corboz lofted a well-struck feed into the penalty area. Rodriguez then stepped around a defender and briefly tapped it into space before stretching into a solid strike on the outside of her right foot. Houston netminder Lydia Williams dove aggressively towards the shot, but the ball was outside of her range, dealing Sky Blue FC its second consecutive win.
“We have been stressing the importance of establishing a winning culture at home,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We want to make Yurcak Field a very difficult place for our opponents to come play. With the attitude and ability that this team compiles together, we are very excited about what we can do over the remainder of the season for our fans.”
Leading things along the back line today for Sky Blue FC was captain Christie Pearce, who was named the Saker ShopRites Woman of the Match.
Sky Blue FC opened the scoring in the 20th minute on a series that was created by a hustle play from Australia international Sam Kerr, who ran down a ball that entered the right side of the area and cut it towards the center of the six-yard box. There awaiting the distribution was Rodriguez, who was immediately taken down by Dash midfielder Amber Brooks for a penalty attempt.
Stepping over the ensuing penalty try was midfielder Sarah Killion, who sent Williams to her right before calmly striking the ball into the left-side netting. The goal by Killion was her fifth of the season, giving her team a 1-0 advantage.
Houston eventually equalized in the 40th minute, as Andressinha first fired a shot that hit the left post. She then found herself in the perfect position to collect the rebound, where she put away the follow-up attempt to make it 1-1.
In the 68th minute, Sky Blue FC nearly regained the lead when U.S. international Kelley O’Hara gathered at the right corner of the 18 and sent a left-footed cross to the far post. There awaiting the distribution was Kerr, who put a sharp header on frame that forced a difficult save from Williams.
As the closing minutes of this contest approached, Sky Blue FC was clearly not satisfied with leaving Yurcak Field on a single point. It was then that Galton earned the free kick opportunity to set up the Corboz cross into traffic that was finished by Rodriguez.
Sky Blue FC is now unbeaten against the Dash in their last nine meetings, going 6-0-3 during that span.
Next up for Sky Blue FC is a Wednesday road pairing with the North Carolina Courage at 7:30 p.m. The team returns to Yurcak Field on Saturday, May 27, hosting the Orlando Pride. Kickoff for that match is slated for 7:00 p.m., and tickets 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. Houston Dash
Date: May 20, 2016
Venue: Yurcak Field; Piscataway, New Jersey
Weather: 64 degrees, overcast
NJ: 1 | 1 - 2
HOU: 1 | 0 – 1
20 NJ Sarah Killion (Penalty Kick)
40 HOU Andressinha
85 NJ Raquel Rodriguez
NJ: Sheridan, Simon, Pearce, Freeman, Skroski, Lytle (Galton-73), Stanton (Corboz-60), Killion, Rodriguez, O’Hara, Kerr (Tiernan-87)
Subs not used: Casey, Hayes, Mills, Meehan
Head Coach: Christy Holly
HOU: Williams, Daly, Privett, Roccaro, Poliana, Brian (O’Sullivan-81), Brooks, Andressinha (Heap-73), Ohai, Beckie, Prince (Henderson-71)
Subs Not Used: Campbell, Hagen, Levin, Van Wyk
Head Coach: Randy Waldrum
Stats Summary: NJ / HOU
Shots: 11 / 15
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 6
Fouls: 7 / 8
Offside: 1 / 0
84 HOU Cami Privett (Yellow Card)
89 NJ Madison Tiernan (Yellow Card)
Referee: Christina Unkel
Assistant Referee 1: Tom Felice
Assistant Referee 2: Maggie Short
Fourth Official: Luis Arroyo
Saker ShopRites Woman of the Match: Christie Pearce