Raquel Rodriguez Scores Game-Winner in 1-0 Contest
Sky Blue FC played the second match of its 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) preseason schedule on Saturday, defeating a talented University of North Carolina side by a tally of 1-0 at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J. Scoring the game-winner for Sky Blue FC was midfielder Raquel Rodriguez, who finished off a Maya Hayes assist in the 16th minute. Recording the 90-minute shutout in net for Sky Blue FC was goalkeeper Caroline Casey.
“It was fantastic to get in this game against UNC today,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “Under the guidance of Anson Dorrance, they have a very good technical and tactical understanding of the game, and they presented us with a number of challenges. Playing this match serves as great preparation for our NWSL season.”
In an effort to keep fresh legs and consistent pressure in the face of Sky Blue FC, UNC used open substitutions throughout this contest while Sky Blue FC used a single substitution method.
The lone goal of this encounter came in the 16th minute on a scoring sequence that started after forward Leah Galton acquired possession and raced down the left flank with the ball at her feet. Once she found herself just outside the penalty area, the England international serviced the ball into the box, where Hayes briefly collected before tapping a feed to Rodriguez on top of the 18. The Costa Rica international then stepped into a shot that ripped into the left side netting and gave Sky Blue FC the early lead.
Sky Blue FC continued to press throughout the remainder of the fixture and created a number of chances, but Tar Heel goalkeeper Samantha Leshnak played very well in net on the opposing end to make the one-goal differential remain until the final whistle.
Leshnak made her best save in the 86th minute after Sky Blue FC midfielder Madison Tiernan was taken down inside the box for a penalty kick. Australian striker Sam Kerr, who was playing in her first match action of the preseason, then stepped over the ball, only to see Leshnak make a diving one-handed save of her attempt.
After 90 minutes of action concluded this one, Sky Blue FC saw itself pick up a second win during the preseason after defeating St. John’s University last weekend, 3-1.
Roster Note: Due to National Team duty, forward Kelley O’Hara (USA) and goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan (CAN) were unavailable for this contest.
Next up for Sky Blue FC is its preseason finale on Sunday, April 9, when the team hosts Penn State University for a 4:00 p.m. kickoff. That match is also slated to occur at Georgian Court University in Lakewood, N.J.
Sky Blue FC will play its 2017 regular season home opener when it hosts FC Kansas City on Sunday, April 30, at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. Kickoff for that match is slated for 6:00 p.m., and tickets are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
Sky Blue FC season, group and individual game tickets are on sale now! For any questions or to purchase tickets, call the Sky Blue FC tickets department at 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849), and a team representative will be happy to assist you. Additionally, tickets can also be purchased online.
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NWSL Preseason Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. University of North Carolina
Date: April 1, 2017
Venue: Georgian Court University; Lakewood, N.J.
Weather: 45 degrees, windy
NJ: 1|0 – 1
UNC: 0|0 – 0
16 NJ R.Rodriguez (M.Hayes)
NJ: C.Casey, Kayla Mills, C.Rampone (D.Richardson-69), M.Freeman, E.Skroski (E.Simon-62), S.Killion (C.Atanda-70), R.Rodriguez (N.Stanton-70), D.Corboz (D.Schulmann-69), T.Lytle (M.Tiernan-62), L.Galton (M.Meehan-70), M.Hayes (S.Kerr-55)
Head Coach: Christy Holly