Photo by Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos.
Sky Blue FC Draws with Chicago Red Stars at Yurcak Field, 2-2
Sky Blue FC (7-6-2, 23 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday, once again orchestrating a thrilling comeback to draw with the Chicago Red Stars (7-3-4, 25 points), 2-2. After falling behind 2-0 in this contest, Maya Hayes put Sky Blue FC on the board in the 33rd minute, with Sam Kerr finishing a Sarah Killion feed in the 90th minute to cap off another dramatic finish at Yurcak Field.
“We are delighted with the perseverance of our team,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We fought it out to the very last minute in order to get the equalizer. Once again, the effort we saw from these players truly says everything about their incredible character. Going into next week, however, we know that we must fine-tune our performance so we do not make our lives so hard.”
The Red Stars struck first in this match-up, scoring the go-ahead goal in the 4th minute of play. On that sequence, forward Christen Press carried into the left side of the penalty area before laying off to a wide-open Sofia Huerta as she ran into the right side of the box. After quickly collecting the feed, Huerta slotted it away to give her team an early 1-0 advantage.
Chicago stretched the gap to a pair in the 26th minute, as Vanessa DiBernardo collected outside the 18-yard box before swinging a cross into the area. Timing a run before breaking on the ball was Press, who chested it down before scoring the feed to make it 2-0 in favor of the visitors.
Sky Blue FC tightened the deficit to a single tally in the 33rd minute, finding success after Kerr delivered a well-placed cross to Taylor Lytle on the far post. Lytle then headed it down for Hayes in front of the frame, where the New Jersey native collected her own rebound of an initial shot and struck it into the back of the net. With that finish, the score stood at 2-1.
In the 43rd minute, the equalizer nearly came for Sky Blue FC. Kerr no-looked a back-heel in the direction of a racing Hayes, who sped into space before sending it to Daphne Corboz as she entered the penalty area. Corboz took a touch before losing her footing, but Kerr sped onto the loose ball and flicked towards the frame. Making a diving save of the attempt was Naeher, and the 2-1 score line remained when the two teams broke for intermission.
Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan kept Sky Blue FC in the game throughout the second half, repeatedly making some very difficult point-blank saves. With the Canada international on her game as the last line of defense, Sky Blue FC began to turn up the tempo on the other side of the pitch.
As its aggressiveness increased on the offensive end, so did the scoring opportunities for Sky Blue FC. Then right on cue in the 90th minute, the New Jersey outfit broke through for the equalizer. On that sequence, Sarah Killion received the ball before turning upfield with plenty of room in front of her.
Taking advantage of the space, Killion drove a beautifully placed cross into the box. Going up high for the feed was Kerr, who at her peak put a head on the ball and drove it over Naeher to inexplicably get Sky Blue FC another late result at Yurcak Field.
Sky Blue FC now heads west next weekend to play a road fixture with Seattle Reign FC. The team will return home to Yurcak Field on Friday, August 4, hosting the Washington Spirit for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. Individual tickets for that match are available now by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
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