Sky Blue Falls to the Washington Spirit 1-0 in Third Fall Series Match

By: Shannon Duffy

Sky Blue FC played the Washington Spirit to a tight 1-0 loss Saturday afternoon. The match was played at MSU Soccer Park at Pittser Field on the campus of Montclair State University, home of New York Red Bulls II. Hackensack Meridian Health presented this match digitally for Sky Blue FC fans.

The Washington Spirit started the match with most of the possession, but Sky Blue’s defense stayed tight, not allowing their opponents any clear opportunities on goal. In the few times that the Spirit did break through, Kailen Sheridan was there to come up with the save. Most notably, in the 15th minute, the Sky Blue goalkeeper came off her line to deflect a shot over the end line from Spirit forward Ashley Sanchez. 

As the first half went on, Sky Blue began to find their footing. Midfielders Jennifer Cudjoe, Domi Richardson, and Sarah Woldmoe all were able to pick the ball up in the center of the field and push their team forward. Ultimately, Sky Blue’s attack was unable to create anything on goal.

With most of the possession, the Spirit continued to try to break through the Sky Blue backline for the remainder of the first half. Whenever the Washington attack found some space, Sky Blue players were quick to stop the advance. The first half ended with a 0-0 scoreline.

Entering the second half, the Washington Spirit continued to bring energy to the attack. In the 50th minute, their efforts paid off when a blocked shot landed at the feet of Kumi Yokoyama. From the right side of the field, just outside of the box, Yokoyama ripped a shot into the lower left side netting under Sheridan’s dive to put her team up 1-0.

Sky Blue was right back on the other end just two minutes later, looking for the equalizer. Cudjoe found space in the upper right side of the box and tried to chip her shot over Bledsoe. The Spirit goalkeeper was able to tip the ball over the bar and out for a corner.

The Spirit almost doubled their lead in the 64th minute, when Bayley Feist sent in a cross from the right side of the field and connected with Sanchez, whose shot went just wide of the near post.

Later in the match, the Sky Blue attackers were pushing hard for the equalizing goal. In the 79th minute, forward Midge Purce made a darting run through midfield and dribbled past several Spirit defenders. Purce played the ball to Ifeoma Onumonu in the center of the box, but the Sky Blue forward was just barely offside.

In the 82nd minute, the Spirit received a free kick near the right sideline, about five yards outside the box. The ball was driven into the six, but Sheridan came out to pick up the ball before it could connect with any of the oncoming Spirit players.

Sky Blue’s last chance to equalize came in the second minute of stoppage time when defender Imani Dorsey found space on the left side of the box. Dorsey played the ball across the goal but was unable to connect with her Sky Blue teammates. The match ended 1-0 in favor of the Spirit.

After the game, Dorsey was named the Saker ShopRite Woman of the Match for her impressive performance, both offensively and defensively. The Sky Blue defender led her team with four interceptions, and ten possessions gained. Additionally, with a 92% passing accuracy, Dorsey helped Sky Blue hold onto the ball at key moments during the match.

“After not being in the game for a long period of time, we were able to step in and start to have an impact in the game at the end and create a couple of chances,” said Sky Blue Head Coach Freya Coombe. “Our possession needs to be much, much better, which is something that we usually do pretty well. I thought we had a lot of misses and individual mistakes on our passing, so we have a few things to work on going into the next game.”

Sky Blue will finish the Fall Series next weekend against the Chicago Red Stars. The match will be played at MSU Soccer Park on Saturday, October 10, at 12:30 p.m. ET. Fans can stream the match live on CBS All Access. NJM Insurance Group will proudly present this match digitally for Sky Blue FC supporters.


Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Washington Spirit
Date: October 3, 2020
Venue: MSU Soccer Park at Pittser Field
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 62 degrees and sunny


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Sky Blue FC

1-Kailen Sheridan; 15-Sabrina Flores, 24-Estelle Johnson, 22-Mandy Freeman (62’ 5-Nicole Baxter), 28-Imani Dorsey; 6-Jennifer Cudjoe, 16-Sarah Woldmoe (c), 17-Domi Richardson (62’ 8-Erika Skroski); 23-Midge Purce, 25-Ifeoma Onumonu, 4-Paige Monaghan

Unused Substitutes: 18-Mikaela Howell, 21-Amanda McGlynn, 35-Megan Hinz, 13-Didi Haracic

Washington Spirit

1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 19-Dorian Bailey, 3-Sam Staab, 14-Paige Nielsen, 22-Jenna Hellstrom (87’ 5-Brooke Hendrix); 8-Meggie Dougherty Howard (c), 2-Ashley Sanchez, 13-Bayley Feist; 31-Crystal Thomas (60’ 6-Katie McClure), 33-Ashley Hatch (18-Jessie Scarpa), 17- Kumi Yokoyama (73’ 4-Natalie Jacobs)

Unused Substitutes: 25-Devon Kerr, 16-Averie Collins

STATS SUMMARY (Sky Blue FC/Washington Spirit)

Shots: 9/17
Shots on target: 2/5
Blocked shots: 4/3
Saves: 4/2
Corners: 4/2
Fouls: 11/12
Offsides: 2/3
Possession: 48%/52%


54’: Washington Spirit: Jenna Hellstrom, Yellow Card
56’: Sky Blue FC: Dominique Richardson, Yellow Card
82’: Sky Blue FC: Jennifer Cudjoe, Yellow Card
90+1’: Meggie Dougherty Howard, Yellow Card