Rosana's converted penalty kick proved to be the difference in this game (Photo by Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).
Sky Blue FC Battles Back from Halftime Deficit to Defeat the Boston Breakers, 2-1
Boston (Sunday, June 13, 2010) – Drama filled Harvard Stadium tonight as Sky Blue FC (4-3-2, 14 points) and the Boston Breakers (1-3-4, 7 points) needed extra time to resolve an action-packed thriller. Down a 1-0 deficit at halftime, Sky Blue FC evened the count on a 52nd minute goal by midfielder Heather O’Reilly, and the team then proceeded to snag three critical road points when Brazilian midfielder Rosana converted a late penalty kick in stoppage time.
After a wildly entertaining 90 minutes had been played this evening, three minutes of stoppage time were added at the end of the second half. With the score knotted up at a goal each, a late takedown in the penalty area by Boston forward Lauren Cheney of Rosana resulted in the penalty kick. The Brazilian playmaker then stepped over the ball with Boston goalkeeper Ashley Phillips being the only person who stood between her and three pivotal road points. Wasting little time, Rosana put a hard strike onto the ball, and the entire Sky Blue FC sideline erupted as the ball ripped into the back of the net.
“I couldn’t even watch the kick, so I had to turn away,” Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen said of the penalty attempt. “However, I knew everything was good when I couldn’t hear anything because the entire bench was cheering so loudly. Great players step up in those kind of situations and put the ball away, and that is exactly what Rosana did.”
Miettinen shook up Sky Blue FC’s starting lineup just a bit tonight, beginning with O’Reilly returning to the midfield after a couple of starts up top in an effort to showcase her speed in the center of the field. Strikers Kiersten Dallstream and Tasha Kai were slotted into the starting forward positions, and the trio immediately found a connection in the opening minutes of this match. O’Reilly won a ball in the midfield before sending it forward to Dallstream, who then crossed it to the top of the box in an attempt to hook up with Kai. However, the well struck ball was just out of her reach, and the early opportunity came up just a bit short.
The Breakers also mounted an early attack on the Sky Blue FC back line, and its pressure paid dividends in the 14th minute. After a cleared ball led to a Boston corner kick, defender Kasey Moore placed a feed into the center of the box. There awaiting her distribution was fellow defender Jordan Angeli, who put the ball away and gave her team an early 1-0 advantage.
Boston continued to ride that momentum throughout the remainder of the first half, giving Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Karen Bardsley a lot of work. The visiting side also had a couple of offensive bursts of its own in the final minutes of the opening frame, but it would be unable to find the equalizer before the halftime whistle was blown. When the two teams broke for intermission, the Breakers held an overall 12-1 shot advantage, and the 1-0 tally in its favor remained.
The only halftime substitution in this match brought on defender Christie Rampone for India Trotter, and Sky Blue FC wasted little time to create a great scoring chance for itself. With pressure coming down on Phillips in the 52nd minute, the Breaker netminder attempted to clear away some danger from the feet of Kai. She came off her post and was then able to knock the ball loose, but O’Reilly was there to gain possession and chipped it into the back netting to equalize for her team. The goal was the first of the season for the East Brunswick native, who also has a pair of assists on her 2010 resume.
The action in this game continued to swing back and forth throughout the entire second half of play, and both teams found the space to create opportunities. Boston continued to maintain its shot advantage and eventually finished the game with a 20-9 edge in that category. With the help of the back line in front of her, Bardsley was able to prevent any more notches by the host side and finished the night with seven more saves to add to her season total.
“Our girls really sharpened up in the second half and literally fought for every ball,” Miettinen stated. “We approached the second half with a completely different attitude, and every single player stepped up and made a difference. When we are out there playing for each other, we know that we will always be an extremely difficult team to beat. I am so proud of the effort that our girls gave tonight.”
The game-winning penalty kick by Rosana was the first penalty kick awarded to Sky Blue FC this season.
Sky Blue FC will now return to New Jersey this Saturday when the team hosts the Philadelphia Independence, and tickets for that game are available now by calling 1-888-SBFC-TIX.