Photo by Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos.
Piscataway, N.J. (May 26, 2018) – Sky Blue FC (0-7-1, 1 point) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday night, coming out on the wrong end of a 1-0 result to Seattle Reign FC (5-2-2, 17 points) at Yurcak Field.
“We made some tweaks to our formation tonight to put a few more players in attacking situations,” said Denise Reddy, Sky Blue FC head coach. “Knowing how dangerous Seattle is, we were also looking to protect certain areas of the field to limit their offensive opportunities. Overall, I thought this was a great game of soccer, and I am proud of the effort that our players put forth.”
In the starting formation, Reddy played Thaisa Moreno and Sarah Killion in the midfield with Carli Lloyd on top of them in an attacking role. On the front line, Katie Johnson was flanked in the middle by Janine Beckie and Savannah McCaskill, which opened up more space in the final third.
Sky Blue FC immediately went on the attack in the 9th minute, as Beckie gathered on the left flank and played Thaisa. The Brazilian midfielder then one-touched Amanda Frisbie into a run down the center of the pitch before Frisbie placed a perfectly weighted ball into the box for Lloyd. After running onto the feed, Lloyd hammered a shot that forced a diving save by Seattle netminder Lydia Williams. Lloyd then collected the rebound and centered a chip for Johnson, but the service was just out of the range of her would-be header.
In the 33rd minute, Sky Blue FC created another opportunity when Killion sent a corner kick towards the far post that was initially headed away. However, Thaisa was there to drop the rebound off for Christina Gibbons. After the ball was played back to Killion on the right flank, the Sky Blue FC midfielder again delivered service towards the far post, where Beckie one-touched a strike that Williams turned away.
The lone tally of this match-up eventually came in the 64th minute. On that sequence, Christen Westphal worked through a pair of defenders on the left flank before centering a feed to Megan Rapinoe, who tucked a one-timer inside the far post to make it a 1-0 contest.
After going down a goal, Sky Blue FC looked for the equalizer, but it was a sharp defensive play in the 80th minute that kept the count at a one-score deficit. On that series, Beverly Yanez split a pair of defenders with a through-ball that landed at the feet of Rapinoe and placed her in a 1v1 situation with Kailen Sheridan. Rapinoe then struck a shot on target, but Sheridan was able to make a diving save of the attempt. The rebound then danced dangerously toward the goal, but defender Rebekah Stott was able to run under the ball and clear it from danger.
Next up, Sky Blue FC will host Utah Royals FC for a 7 p.m. kickoff on June 2 at Yurcak Field, which will the team’s Kickoff to Pride Month Celebration. Tickets for that match are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
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NWSL Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Seattle Reign FC
Date: May 26, 2018
Venue: Yurcak Field; Piscataway, New Jersey
Weather: 84 degrees, sunny
SEA: 0 | 1 – 1
NJ: 0 | 0 – 0
64’ NJ Megan Rapinoe (Christen Westphal)
NJ: Sheridan, Frisbie, Stott, Freeman, Gibbons (Hoy-82), Moreno (Tiernan-89), Lloyd, Killion, Beckie, Johnson (Groom-63), McCaskill
Subs not used: Gunion, Meehan, Richardson
Head Coach: Denise Reddy
SEA: Williams, Westphal, Barnes, McNabb, Nielsen, Utsugi, Fishlock (Yanez-66), Long, Rapinoe, Taylor (Spencer-56), Addo (Kleiner-81)
Subs Not Used: Betos, Andrews, Bauer, Kawasumi
Head Coach: Vlatko Andonovski
Stats Summary: NJ / SEA
Shots: 10 / 9
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 7 / 4
Fouls: 10 / 8
Offside: 0 / 6
Referee: Jasmine Peralta
Assistant Referee 1: Ian McKay
Assistant Referee 2: Benjamin Wooten
Fourth Official: Thomas Snyder
Saker ShopRites Woman of the Match: Rebekah Stott