Following a strong performance in Seattle that yielded a point, Sky Blue FC fell to Boston Breakers 1-0 in a performance the team’s head coach called “disappointing.”
The team (0-1-1) returns to New Jersey for its 2017 home opener this Sunday against FC Kansas City.
“We knew there would be some ups and downs at the start of the season, but this entire squad is capable of playing far more consistently than what we saw today,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue’s head coach. “We will get right back to work this week and address these issues to ensure that we are ready for FC Kansas City in our home opener.”
Sky Blue was presented with an early opportunity in the 4th minute today, as U.S. international Kelley O’Hara raced down the right flank with possession before crossing into the area. The ball ended up reaching British striker Leah Galton just beyond the far post, where she centered a header for forward Sam Kerr. As the ball approached, Kerr put a strike on it that sailed just high of the mark.
Another great chance was created in the 14th minute, as an O’Hara corner kick was delivered to the front of the goal. The beneficiary of the service was Kerr, who put a hard header on frame that forced an athletic save by Boston netminder Abby Smith.
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Sky Blue FC continued to play well on the attack, seeing another good opportunity in the 22nd minute. On that sequence, defender Kayla Mills served into the box, where a nice strike from Kerr was countered by another save from Smith.
The following minute, Smith again came up big for her club after Galton put a perfectly placed cross from the left flank onto the far post. There awaiting the distribution was O’Hara, who redirected a strong header on frame that Smith was able to punch over the crossbar.
The Breakers eventually rewarded Smith for her defensive play in the 37th minute. On that scoring series, Boston midfielder Rose Lavelle made a run with the ball before feeding a through-ball to forward Natasha Dowie as she ran into the right side of the penalty area. Played into a 1v1 with Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, Dowie quickly collected before firing the go-ahead goal into the back of the net.
The pace slowed offensively for Sky Blue FC in the second half, with Sheridan coming up big on multiple occasions to keep the tally at 1-0. The first came via an athletic kick save in the 58th minute, not to be done by a couple of late rejections in the closing minutes of this contest. On the day, Sheridan finished with five saves.
With the 1-0 result, Sky Blue FC was held scoreless for the first time in 13 matches, ending a streak that dated back to a 0-0 draw with Seattle Reign FC in June of 2016.
Also of note in today’s contest was the professional debut of former Rutgers standout Madison Tiernan, who came onto the pitch for Galton in the 70th minute. In just two games this season, Sky Blue FC has now seen the NWSL debuts of five different players (Sheridan, Mills, Freeman, Tiernan, Corboz).