Photo by Jeffrey Auger.
Thorns Hold Off Sky Blue FC Attack in Second Half to Hang Onto 2-0 Result
Sky Blue FC (4-4-1, 13 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday, seeing a three-game home winning streak snapped by Portland Thorns FC (4-1-3, 15 points), 2-0. Lindsay Horan scored a brace to lead the Portland offense, while Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch came up with six saves to counter a determined Sky Blue FC attack.
“This is definitely not the result we wanted at home, but there are a tremendous amount of positive takeaways from this match,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We created our fair share of opportunities, and our ability to learn and evolve as the game progresses is definitely something that is very exciting. We will analyze this performance and make the necessary adjustments to ensure we are better when we head to Portland in two weeks.”
Making her second consecutive start this evening was Madison Tiernan, who put forth a solid end-to-end performance to earn Saker ShopRites Woman of the Match honors.
Portland opened the scoring in this contest after making good on a free kick opportunity that arose after defender Kayla Mills was shown yellow in the 20th minute. On the ensuing chance, forward Nadia Nadim sent the ball towards the far post, where Horan was able to redirect a header for the early score.
In the 34th minute, Sky Blue FC nearly found its equalizer. On the sequence, Tiernan dispossessed Meghan Klingenberg in the midfield and played a ball down the right flank for Sam Kerr. The Australia international then quickly collected before heading upfield, eventually firing a shot that was just wide of the left post.
The Thorns stretched their advantage to 2-0 in the 42nd minute, beginning on a Nadim ball that was played to Klingenberg on the left side of the penalty area. After gathering, Klingenberg sent a hard roller to the front of the goal, where Horan was again the beneficiary who put it away. When the halftime whistle was blown, Portland found itself with a 2-0 lead.
Sky Blue FC immediately went on the attack at the start of the second half, creating a great chance in the 49th minute after Tiernan gained possession and began running towards the penalty area. As defenders began to collapse on her, she played Kelley O’Hara on her right. After receiving the distribution, O’Hara turned towards the goal and fired a shot from a difficult angle that Thorns netminder Adrianna Franch was able to deflect with a kick save.
In the 57th minute, Sky Blue FC had another quality opportunity after Raquel Rodriguez was taken down inside the box by Mallory Weber. Stepping over the ensuing penalty attempt was midfielder Sarah Killion, but Franch was able to stop her for the first time from the spot this season after making a great diving save to her left.
Sky Blue FC then played a nice give-and-go sequence in the 69th minute that started off a run by second half substitute McKenzie Meehan. The 2017 NWSL College Draft selection played Kerr on her left, who quickly returned the favor as she finished a run towards goal. Meehan then went high on the feed by Kerr to send a header on frame, but Franch again found herself in the perfect position to turn away the shot.
Over the final 20 minutes of this contest, Sky Blue FC continued to play with incredible resolve, but it would just not be the home team’s night. When the final whistle was blown, the 2-0 tally remained.
The NWSL will take its first international break of the season next weekend, and Sky Blue FC will next travel to Portland on Saturday, June 17. The team will not return to New Jersey until Wednesday, June 28, hosting the Orlando Pride at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that match 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. Portland Thorns FC
Date: June 3, 2016
Venue: Yurcak Field; Piscataway, New Jersey
Weather: 72 degrees, sunny
NJ: 0 | 0 - 0
POR: 2 | 0 - 2
20 POR Lindsay Horan (Nadia Nadim)
42 POR Lindsay Horan (Meghan Klingenberg)
NJ: Sheridan, Mills (Corboz-80), Freeman, Pearce, Tiernan (Galton-67), Killion, Rodriguez, O’Hara, Lytle, Hayes (Meehan-60), Kerr
Subs not used: Casey, Richardson, DeCesare, Stanton
Head Coach: Christy Holly
POR: Franch, Boureille, Sonnett, Menges, Klingenberg, Henry, Long (Cox), Nadim, Horan, Weber (Brynjarsdottir-66), Sinclair (Johnson-88)
Subs Not Used: Eckerstrom, Raso
Head Coach: Mark Parsons
Stats Summary: NJ / POR
Shots: 13 / 8
Saves: 2 / 6
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 8
Offside: 2 / 2
19 NJ Kayla Mills (Yellow Card)
59 POR Lindsay Horan (Yellow Card)
77 POR Meghan Cox (Yellow Card)
89 NJ Kelley O’Hara (Yellow Card)
Referee: Marco Vega
Assistant Referee 1: Amanda Ross
Assistant Referee 2: Tom Felice
Fourth Official: Lorant Varga
Saker ShopRites Woman of the Match: Madison Tiernan