Photo by Mike Gridley, ISI Photos.
Four Different Players Score Goals, Record Assists as Sky Blue FC Rallies Past Boston Breakers
Allston, Mass. (Sept. 30, 2017) – Sky Blue FC (10-11-3, 33 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action for its 2017 season finale on Saturday, rallying back from a 2-0 first-half deficit to defeat the Boston Breakers (15-6-1, 46 points) at Jordan Field, 4-3. Four different players scored goals and four different players recorded assists in the match, giving Sky Blue FC double-digit wins on the season.
Boston broke the stalemate tonight in the 25th minute, making good on a sequence that started with Midge Purce speeding down the right flank with possession. She looked up to see a crew of Breakers attacking the goal, quickly sending a cross into the area. The beneficiary of her delivery was Natasha Dowie, who headed the go-ahead tally into the back of the net.
In the 28th minute, the Breakers stretched their advantage to 2-0. On the play, Tiffany Weimer crossed a ball from deep on the left flank, finding a racing Dowie who was sprinting into the penalty area. As she arrived at the feed, Dowie flicked a header that redirected past a diving Caroline Casey, scoring her second goal of the match to give the host side a 2-0 edge.
Staying aggressive in its final third, Sky Blue FC pulled one back in the 34th minute and broke some history in doing so. On the series, Maya Hayes struck a ball towards Sam Kerr on the near post, who side-volleyed it with the outside of her right foot. The Australia international hit the ball so quickly that it gave Boston netminder Abby Smith no time to react, closing the gap to 2-1.
The goal for Kerr was her 17th on the season, which broke the all-time NWSL record for most goals in a single season. Kerr already owned the all-time NWSL record for most career goals, and this tally increased that mark to 43 overall.
The 2-1 score line remained all the way until this match entered the 75th minute, but the final 15 minutes of the season would see a lot of activity.
Sky Blue FC leveled the count in the 76th minute of play, as Kelley O’Hara sent a cross through the center of the box, landing at the feet of Madison Tiernan on the far post. The New Jersey native then stepped around a defender to find a tight angle on goal, hammering a ball underneath Smith that gave her team the 2-2 equalizer.
Just two minutes later, Sky Blue FC claimed its first lead of the night after earning a corner kick. Stepping over the corner was Taylor Lytle, who placed a well-struck ball on the far post, where Erica Skroski was able to battle to the feed and poke it past Smith for her first goal of the season.
That Skroski goal gave Sky Blue FC a 3-2 edge, but the scoring was not done. In the 85th minute, Dowie played an overlapping Ifeoma Onumonu into the left side of the penalty area. Onumonu then hit a drifting ball towards the frame that proved to be just a bit too difficult for Casey to handle. The Sky Blue FC goalkeeper fought to keep the ball off her line, but she was eventually charged with an own goal as the ball found its way to the back of the net.
As this incredibly resilient Sky Blue FC side has shown all season, they were going to fight all the way to the final whistle to find one more goal, and the New Jersey club did just that in the 87th minute.
On the sequence, Skroski sent a hard roller to Leah Galton on the left flank, and the England international collected before racing towards goal. As she reached the end line, Galton sent a ball across the mouth of the frame that found O’Hara on the other side of the penalty area. Needing just a single touch, the U.S. international blasted the ball past a diving Smith, giving Sky Blue FC the game-winning goal in yet another unlikely comeback win.
As a result of the 4-3 victory, Sky Blue FC claims the season series over the Breakers, two games to one.
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NWSL Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Boston Breakers
Date: September 30, 2017
Venue: Jordan Field; Allston, Massachusetts
Weather: 53 degrees, cloudy
NJ: 1 | 3 – 4
BOS: 2 | 1 – 3
25 BOS Natasha Dowie (Midge Purce)
28 BOS Natasha Dowie (Tiffany Weimer)
34 NJ Sam Kerr (Maya Hayes)
76 NJ Madison Tiernan (Kelley O’Hara)
78 NJ Erica Skroski (Taylor Lytle)
85 BOS (Caroline Casey Own Goal)
87 NJ Kelley O’Hara (Leah Galton)
NJ: Casey, Skroski, Freeman, Richardson, O’Hara, Stanton, Lytle (Galton-81), Rodriguez, Tiernan, Kerr, Hayes (Meehan-73)
Subs not used: Sheridan, Benintente, Mills, Killion, Simon
Game Day Coach: David Hodgson
BOS: Smith, Purce, Oyster, Frisbie, Chapman, Leon, Elby, Salem, Weimer (Onumonu-53), Dowie, Stengel (Andrews-62)
Subs Not Used: Prudhomme, Dowd
Head Coach: Matt Beard
Stats Summary: BOS / NJ
Shots: 14 / 11
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 11 / 3
Fouls: 4/ 6
Offside: 1 / 6
64 BOS Midge Purce
72 NJ Madison Tiernan
Referee: Karen Abt
Assistant Referee 1: John Krill
Assistant Referee 2: Jordan Davis
Fourth Official: Tom Felice
Saker ShopRite Stores Woman of the Match: Kelley O’Hara