Sky Blue Takes Road Point At Houston

Photo by Wilf Thorne, ISI Photos.
Photo by Wilf Thorne, ISI Photos.
Photo by Wilf Thorne, ISI Photos.

Sky Blue FC (1-1-1, 4 points) and the Houston Dash (1-1-1, 4 points) battled to a scoreless stalemate in Friday night action of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), with the road match being played at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston.

In her first start of the season, goalkeeper Caroline Stanley had a strong game in net, registering seven saves en route to being named the Pine Belt of Lakewood Player of the Game.

“The team showed fantastic heart and a fantastic attitude tonight, and every single player contributed,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “It was a bit difficult to deal with the long flight and a quick turnaround after playing on Sunday, and I am very proud of the resolve that our team displayed. It is a true testament to these players in that we were able to get a point on the road despite not having our best day at the office.”

In the opening half of this contest, there was some good back-and-forth action between the two sides. Each team had its moments, but the game headed into the intermission scoreless after no goals were allowed into the back of the net.

In that first half of action, Stanley was able to make a diving point-blank save of a shot attempt by Dash forward Rachel Daly, and she made a similar denial in the 70th minute. On a progression where Daly received a ball right in front of the frame, she struck a hard shot towards the target. Perfectly positioned was Stanley, who made an incredible reaction save to keep it clean of the net.

In addition to Stanley, the Sky Blue FC back line continued to step up throughout the night, topped off by an Erin Simon clearance that was eerily similar to what midfielder Taylor Lytle did last week against the Washington Spirit. Off a corner kick in stoppage time, Stanley was able to punch the initial ball off her line, where it deflected to Poliana. The ensuing shot then flamed towards the goal, but Simon was still protecting her back post and knocked it from the air to keep it clean of the end line.

Sky Blue FC had one last opportunity four minutes into stoppage time on a free kick that was taken from about 25 yards out, with Kelley O’Hara hammering the set piece just high of the crossbar. When the final whistle was blown shortly after that play, the two clubs would be forced to settle for a point each.

With the result, Sky Blue FC extends a road unbeaten streak to six matches, which dates back to the 2015 season. However, the New Jersey side also saw its NWSL-best streak of 12 consecutive games with a goal come to a conclusion in Houston.