Sky Blue FC Unable to Hold Off Independence

Rosana and Tasha Kai celebrate a 27th minute goal (Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).

Philadelphia Gets Offensive to Defeat Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field, 4-1

Piscataway, N.J. (Saturday, June 19, 2010) – The Philadelphia Independence (5-3-2, 17 points) opened up the scoring tonight at Yurcak Field in the 5th minute, and it kept its offensive groove to roll onto an eventual 4-1 victory over host Sky Blue FC (4-4-2, 14 points). The home team got its lone notch off the foot of Rosana on a penalty kick conversion in the 27th minute, with the Independence having four different players on the score sheet.

“Philadelphia was very efficient tonight,” Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen stated. “They capitalized on each of their opportunities, and that paid off for them in the result. As a team, we have to take a long look at the film so we can correct our mistakes and come out with a better effort in our next match.”

Philadelphia started this game much like the last meeting of these sides two weeks ago, needing just five minutes to hit the go-ahead tally. On the scoring play, Independence forward Amy Rodriguez streaked down the right flank with the ball at her feet and sent a nicely struck cross to the center of the field. There awaiting her feed was fellow striker Danesha Adams, who one-touched the volley into the back of the net.

In the 18th minute, Adams returned the favor to Rodriguez after receiving a pass in the center of the field. She then looked upfield and chipped the ball over the Sky Blue FC back line, where Rodriguez raced onto the pass. Rodriguez next found herself 1v1 with Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kristin Luckenbill, who was starting in net while Karen Bardsley was logging international minutes for England, and she struck the ball home to give the visiting side an early 2-0 advantage.

Showing much resilience, Sky Blue FC then upped its offensive aggression and began to attack the Philadelphia goal. In the 26th minute, forward Heather O’Reilly sped down the left flank and delivered a cross to Tasha Kai in front of the frame. Once she received the ball, Kai was taken down in the box, and Sky Blue FC was awarded a penalty kick. Stepping over the penalty attempt was Brazilian midfielder Rosana, who was the hero from a dramatic 2-1 victory over the Boston Breakers last Sunday when she converted a game-winning penalty kick in the 93rd minute of that match.

Once the whistle was blown to start the play, Rosana quickly approached the ball and roped a hard-struck ball past Independence netminder Karina LeBlanc into the top right shelf of the back netting. The official time of the notch was the 27th minute, and that tally ended a 293-minute scoreless drought at home for Sky Blue FC. The 2-1 count stood until both sides broke for intermission.

Second half action was going back-and-forth at the start, but Philadelphia was eventually able to extend its advantage in the 55th minute. Adams found herself in front of the goal and unleashed a powerful shot towards her target, but Luckenbill made a brilliant diving save of the attempt. Unfortunately for Sky Blue FC, Independence midfielder Joanna Lohman was there awaiting the rebound and immediately fired the ball into the goal.

In the 74th minute, Philadelphia stretched it to 4-1 following an unassisted strike by midfielder Tina DiMartino. She started a run on the right wing and chipped an attempt from over 20 yards deep, placing the ball high enough to where it was out of the reach of Luckenbill.

“We had our chances tonight, but we unfortunately weren’t able to put them into the back of the net,” said midfielder Kendall Fletcher, who made her first start in a Sky Blue FC uniform tonight. “Anytime we have a game like this, we have to pull together as a team and evaluate where we can improve. It is very important for us to grow and learn from this game. As long as we do that, then tonight is not a complete loss.”

Next up for Sky Blue FC is a Sunday road pairing with top-ranked FC Gold Pride, and the team returns to Yurcak Field on Wednesday, July 7th, to host the Washington Freedom. Tickets for that match are available now by calling 1-888-SBFC-TIX.

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