Sky Blue FC (5-6-1, 16 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Wednesday, falling to the Orlando Pride (4-4-3, 15 points) at Yurcak Field, 3-2. Sky Blue FC took a 2-1 lead in this match-up on a fantastic bicycle kick goal by Sam Kerr in the 46th minute, but the Pride scored two late tallies to claim an eventual 3-2 result.
“It is unacceptable for us to continue performing at such an inconsistent level,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We know that we can do better. The positive that we will take away from this is knowing everything that went wrong in our performance is something we can control. We can rectify that, and we take accountability for what happened here tonight.”
Orlando opened the scoring in the 11th minute, as midfielder Kristen Edmonds played forward Chioma Ubogagu on the right flank. After collecting the ball, Ubogagu touched around a defender into a straight pathway to the goal, striking the ball into the far-side netting before Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan had the opportunity to react. With the finish, the Pride found itself with a 1-0 advantage.
Sky Blue FC then created a chance in 19th minute. On the series, Kerr spotted midfielder Daphne Corboz on a run into the left corner of the 18-yard box, where she was fed a hard roller. Corboz then gathered the ball and was tackled for a Sky Blue FC penalty attempt. Stepping over the ensuing try was midfielder Sarah Killion, who struck a shot to her right that was saved by a diving Aubrey Bledsoe.
Kerr continued to create for Sky Blue FC on the offensive end, and her work rate paid off just before halftime in the 45th minute. After being played a great through-ball by Taylor Lytle, Kerr raced into the area before being taken down for a second Sky Blue FC penalty try. Stepping over the attempt was U.S. international Kelley O’Hara, who calmly drove a hard shot into the upper left-netting to level the game at one apiece.
The 46th minute of this contest was when Kerr put away an incredible bicycle kick goal. The sequence originated in the defensive third of Sky Blue FC, where Corboz and Kerr did a quick one-two before Corboz sent the ball down the left flank for a speeding Maya Hayes. The New Jersey native then collected before running towards the end line near the left post, eventually centering a volley where Kerr was awaiting. As the ball began to arrive, the Australia international quickly set her feet before firing a well-driven bicycle kick past Bledsoe. With the tally, Sky Blue FC claimed a 2-1 edge.
Heading into the final stretch of this match-up, the Pride caught some steam. First in the 77th minute, Orlando leveled the count when defender Steph Catley centered a feed that deflected right to the feet of Marta, and the Brazilian striker one-timed the loose ball into the goal with her left foot.
In the 86th minute, the Pride finally reclaimed the lead. On the play, Catley sent a ball from the left flank across the mouth of the frame. There awaiting the distribution was forward Rachel Hill, who headed in what would become the game-winning goal. When the final whistle was blown just minutes later, Sky Blue FC found itself on the unfavorable side of a 3-2 result.
Sky Blue FC will now head south this Saturday to play the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week. The team will return home to Yurcak Field on Saturday, July 8, hosting FC Kansas City for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff. Individual tickets for that match are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
For all of the latest news on Sky Blue FC, visit the team online and follow us on social media: @SkyBlueFC
NWSL Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Orlando Pride
Date: June 28, 2016
Venue: Yurcak Field; Piscataway, New Jersey
Weather: 77 degrees, sunny
NJ: 1 | 1 – 2
ORL: 1 | 2 – 3
11 ORL Chioma Ubogagu
45 NJ Kelley O’Hara (Penalty Kick)
46 NJ Sam Kerr (Maya Hayes)
77 ORL Marta
86 ORL Rachel Hill (Steph Catley)
NJ: Sheridan, Mills, Freeman, Pearce, O’Hara, Lytle (Meehan-81), Rodriguez, Killion, Corboz, Hayes (Galton-69), Kerr (Stanton-85)
Subs not used: Casey, Tiernan, Simon, Skroski
Head Coach: Christy Holly
ORL: Bledsoe, Catley, Pressley, Krieger, Edmonds, Kennedy, Weatherholt (Monica-82), Camila, Marta, Ubogagu (Spencer-66), Fields (Hill-67)
Subs Not Used: Driesse, Alleway, Evans, Stanley
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni
Stats Summary: NJ / ORL
Shots: 11 / 14
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 0 / 7
Fouls: 11 / 9
Offside: 2 / 1
75 ORL Jasmyne Spencer (Yellow Card)
90+4 NJ Nikki Stanton (Yellow Card)
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Jeffrey Skinner
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Vazqez
Fourth Official: Luis Arroyo
Saker ShopRites Woman of the Match: Sam Kerr