Brittany Taylor scored the lone Sky Blue FC tally tonight (Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).
Chicago Edges Sky Blue FC by a Count of 2-1
Piscataway, N.J. (Sunday, August 1, 2010) – Sky Blue FC (5-8-3, 18 points) got a late goal off the foot of Brittany Taylor for the second time in as many games tonight, but the Chicago Red Stars (5-8-5, 20 points) were able to hold off the rally to secure a tight 2-1 victory at Yurcak Field. With the win, Chicago slides into fourth place in the WPS Standings with Sky Blue FC right behind in what is an extremely heated battle for the final spot into the league playoffs.
“We don’t put the pressure of the standings on the players, but as coaches, we’re watching and looking at it,” Sky Blue FC head coach Rick Stainton said after the match. “Today was a crucial game for us, and we certainly understand that. As a coaching staff and as a team, we have to continue to look ahead and be forward-thinking. There’s still a lot season to go, and we must stay positive and keep our heads up.”
Stainton made a few shake-ups to the Sky Blue FC Starting XI, with Kacey White and Rosana getting the nod on top of the formation. In the midfield, Taylor moved up to the right flank opposite Heather O’Reilly, with Finnish international Laura Kalmari returning to the active roster and Kendall Fletcher starting at the holding position of the midfield. In the back, Dutch National Team captain Daphne Koster moved out right with Keeley Dowling joining captain Christie Rampone at the center back position. Defender Meg Schnur was at her normal left back position while goalkeeper Jenni Branam made her first start of the 2010 season.
As far as the game action was concerned, the Red Stars jumped out to an early advantage in this match after midfielder Karen Carney delivered a ball to forward Ella Masar at the top of the 18. The Illinois native then settled the feed and saw some space open up between her and the Sky Blue FC defense. Once seeing her opportunity arise, Masar then struck the ball towards the opposing goal and it drifted over the head of Branam. After just four minutes of play, Chicago held a 1-0 lead.
Sky Blue FC did not let that early notch dissuade its intensity, and the team continued its offensive aggression. The midfield was finding some creases in the Red Stars defense, and some solid through-balls were just off the mark. In the 29th minute, Kalmari nearly evened the count when she fired an attempt from 25 yards deep, but Chicago netminder Jillian Loyden was able to tip it away.
When the head official blew the whistle for halftime in this game, the Red Stars still held a one-goal advantage.
In the 61st minute, Chicago extended the gap to 2-0 after defender Marian Dalmy raced up the right flank before delivering a feed to midfielder Karen Carney on the far post. The English native quickly put a strike on the ball, and her attempt hit the opposite post and fired into the goal.
Sky Blue FC was able to get itself on the board in this match when the clock headed into stoppage time, with Taylor giving the team a second tally in two consecutive outings. The scoring play started off the foot of Italian striker Patrizia Panico, who delivered a pass from the wing over to forward Tasha Kai. The Hawaii native then turned towards the middle of the field and found Taylor racing into the 18-yard box. Kai then fed the ball over to Taylor, who immediately fired a rope through a small crease in the Red Stars defense.
Although time would not allow an equalizing opportunity, Taylor mirrored the message of her head coach and showed the same positive demeanor.
“I think things are starting to work a little better for us, and we just have to continue to push forward,” Taylor remarked. “I want to feel good about scoring a goal, but it’s just tough to get too excited when we didn’t get the result. I play for my teammates, not myself. I would much rather win the game and not score a goal.”
Next up for Sky Blue FC is a Saturday road pairing with the Atlanta Beat. The team will return home to Yurcak Field on Wednesday, August 11th, to host the Washington Freedom. Sky Blue FC will be playing in pink jerseys to benefit the Central and South Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure chapter, and a silent auction will also be conducted. Tickets for that game are available now, and fans can purchase them by calling 1-888-SBFC-TIX.