After Facing 3-0 Halftime Deficit, Sky Blue FC Rallies for Improbable Comeback Win
The legend of Sam Kerr and improbable Sky Blue FC comebacks continues to grow.
Sky Blue FC (8-9-2, 26 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday, rallying to a 5-4 comeback win over Seattle Reign FC (7-7-5, 26 points) after entering the second half with a 3-0 deficit. On the finishing end of four of those goals was Sam Kerr, making her the first player in NWSL history to put away four goals in a single match. Additionally, Kerr became the first player in NWSL history to score two hat tricks in one season while also reclaiming the league-lead with 15 goals.
“This comeback showed huge character,” said Kerr. “We can’t keep conceding lots of goals like we have been, but I know we will continue to grow. I am really proud of my teammates because we fought through and found a way to win the game.”
Seattle got on the board early in this match-up, gaining a 1-0 advantage in the 3rd minute. On that scoring sequence, Christine Nairn ran down the right flank with possession before centering a ball for Katie Johnson as she ran into the area. After running onto the ball, Johnson put the finishing touch on it to earn the one-goal lead.
In the 18th minute, Reign FC stretched its edge to 2-0 following a corner kick from Nahomi Kawasumi, where she delivered the ball towards the far post. Sky Blue FC netminder Kailen Sheridan went up and got her fingertips on the feed, but Jessica Fishlock was there to collect the deflection and put it away.
In first half stoppage time, Seattle made it 3-0, with Nairn sending a cross from the left flank that eventually found Kawasumi on the far post. She then finished off the distribution to send Reign FC into the locker rooms with the three-tally advantage.
After the second half got underway, Sam Kerr pulled one back for Sky Blue FC in the 48th minute. On the series, Nikki Stanton played Kayla Mills into space on the right flank. Mills then struck distribution towards the far post, where Erica Skroski headed it back towards the center of the box. After that ball deflected off a defender, Kerr collected it and put Sky Blue FC on the board, 3-1.
This match became a one-goal contest in the 68th minute, as Daphne Corboz sent a long ball over the top that landed at the feet of Kerr as she raced past a final Reign FC defender. After a couple of touches, Kerr hammered a shot that slotted under goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer to put up a 3-2 score line.
Sky Blue FC leveled the count in the 71st minute on a sequence that started from a looping ball down the left flank by Sarah Killion that found Kerr. After beating one defender, Kerr took on three more Seattle defenders and fired an incredible shot that bent around the trio and past Kopmeyer to make it a 3-3 game. The goal gave Kerr her second hat trick of the 2017 season, which had never been done before tonight.
However, this match was far from over. Reign FC got back on the board in the 85th minute, as Kiersten Dallstream collected a Rumi Utsugi shot that was saved by Sheridan and put away the go-ahead notch, 4-3.
Entering stoppage time, Sky Blue FC found its equalizer when Domi Richardson sent a ball into the box that Kerr collected before playing her back. Richardson then one-timed a cross towards the top of the six-yard box, where Maya Hayes fought through to put a header on frame that hit the back of the net and again leveled the tally, 4-4.
Sky Blue FC then found itself with an opportunity to reclaim the lead in the 93rd minute when a handball infraction inside the box led to a penalty attempt. Stepping over the try was Kerr, who rifled a shot off the crossbar.
Seemingly deciding that a penalty kick was not the most dramatic way to end this game, Taylor Lytle stepped over a corner kick in the 94th minute. She sent a lofting ball towards the mouth of the frame, where who else but Kerr somehow fought off four defenders and put a leading header past Kopmeyer and a fifth Seattle defender to score what essentially amounted to a buzzer beater.
With the win, Sky Blue FC brings its season point total to 26 overall, and the New Jersey club is just three points off the fourth and final playoff position with five matches left on the 2017 docket.
Sky Blue FC remains in New Jersey next Saturday, August 26, hosting the Boston Breakers 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: Sky Blue FC vs. Seattle Reign FC
Date: August 19, 2017
Venue: Yurcak Field; Piscataway, New Jersey
Weather: 84 degrees, sunny
SEA: 3 | 1 – 4
NJ: 0 | 5 – 5
3 SEA Katie Johnson (Christine Nairn)
18 SEA Jessica Fishlock
45+2 SEA Nahomi Kawasumi (Christine Nairn)
48 NJ Sam Kerr
68 NJ Sam Kerr (Daphne Corboz)
71 NJ Sam Kerr (Sarah Killion)
90+1 Maya Hayes (Domi Richardson)
90+4 Sam Kerr (Taylor Lytle)
NJ: Sheridan, Skroski, Freeman, Richardson, Mills (Meehan-86), Lytle, Stanton, Rodriguez (Killion-8), Corboz, Kerr, Tiernan (Hayes-72)
Subs not used: Casey, Kai, O’Hara
Game Day Coach: David Hodgson
SEA: Kopmeyer, Nairn (Elston-62), Mathias, Fishlock, Stott, Pickett, Yanez (Dallstream), McNabb, Utsugi, Johnson (Barnes-83), Kawasumi
Subs Not Used: Reed, Madalyn Schiffel, Crummer, Corsie
Head Coach: Laura Harvey
Stats Summary: NJ / SEA
Shots: 23 / 10
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 9 / 7
Fouls: 7 / 8
Offside: 1 / 3
81 NJ Maya Hayes (Yellow)
Referee: Christopher Spivey
Assistant Referee 1: Jeremy Weed
Assistant Referee 2: Amilcar Sicaju
Fourth Official: Henrik Karlsson
Saker ShopRites Woman of the Match: Sam Kerr