Sky Blue FC (7-9-2, 23 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday, suffering a road defeat to the Orlando Pride (7-6-5, 26 points) at Orlando City Stadium, 5-0.
“We showed a very nervous low in confidence across the board tonight,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We need to learn from this performance very quickly and approach next week’s game with energy and purpose.”
Orlando struck early in this match-up, making good on a play in the 4th minute that started with Marta in the midfield. The Brazilian striker served a looping ball onto the feet of a racing Alex Morgan, who stepped around a defender before finishing to make it 1-0 in favor of the Pride.
Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan made some critical saves to keep this a one-goal contest for the majority of the first half, but Orlando eventually stretched its advantage to 2-0 in the 43rd minute. On that series, Camila split two defenders on the right flank before centering a hard roller for Dani Weatherholt in front of the frame. As the ball arrived, Weatherholt one-timed it into the back of the net to make it a two-score deficit.
Things quickly got out of hand after the second half got underway. In the 47th minute, Jasmyne Spencer split two defenders to find Morgan alone with Sheridan, and the U.S. international slotted it past her to make it 3-0. Spencer then crossed a ball from the right flank in the 53rd minute that was just beyond the grasp of Sheridan, and Marta was there to head it home and make it a 4-0 contest. In the 58th minute, Morgan sent a hard roller through the center of the Sky Blue FC defense that found Marta, and she struck the ball away before Sheridan had a chance to react, placing a 5-0 tally on the scoreboard.
Despite the score line, Sheridan continued to give full effort for her side and stepped up after Spencer went down in the box for a Pride penalty attempt in the 66th minute. Taking the ensuing try was Maddy Evans, who was denied by Sheridan when she struck it to her right. On the night, the Canada international finished with seven saves.
The loss for Sky Blue FC was its third in a row, a span that has seen the team give up 14 goals in three games. However, the New Jersey outfit is still very much in the thick of the NWSL Playoffs race and has an opportunity in front of them to right the ship.
Sky Blue FC will look to start that new beginning next weekend when it returns home to New Jersey on Saturday, August 19, hosting Seattle Reign FC for a 7:00 p.m. kickoff at Yurcak Field in Piscataway. 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: Orlando Pride vs. Sky Blue FC
Date: August 12, 2017
Venue: Orlando City Stadium; Orlando, Florida
Weather: 82 degrees, thunderstorms
NJ: 0 | 0 – 0
ORL: 2 | 3 – 5
4 ORL Alex Morgan (Marta)
43 ORL Dani Weatherholt (Camila)
47 ORL Alex Morgan (Jasmyne Spencer)
53 ORL Marta
58 ORL Marta (Alex Morgan)
NJ: Sheridan, Stanton, Pearce, Freeman, Skroski, Killion (Hayes-62), Tiernan, Rodriguez (Corboz-46), Meehan, Kerr, Lytle
Subs not used: Casey, Mills, Kai, Richardson
Head Coach: Christy Holly
ORL: Harris, Catley, Krieger, Monica, Edmonds, Kennedy, Weatherholt (M.Evans-62), Camila (D.Evans-76), Marta, Morgan, Spencer (Driesse-69)
Subs Not Used: Ubogagu, Fields, Pressley, Bledsoe
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni
Stats Summary: ORL / NJ
Shots: 18 / 11
Saves: 3 / 7
Corner Kicks: 6 / 7
Fouls: 4 / 2
Offside: 1 / 2
Referee: Elvis Osmanovic
Assistant Referee 1: Benjamin Wooten
Assistant Referee 2: Ian McKay
Fourth Official: Erika Barahona