Sky Blue FC Falls 2-1 to Western New York Flash

Sky Blue FC's Sam Kerr (Photo: Sky Blue FC/Robyn McNeil)

By MC Bousquette
Staff Writer

In an offense-heavy match up, the Western New York Flash defeated Sky Blue FC 2-1.

Despite a goal from Kelley O’Hara, a persistent Flash netted two, one from Lady Andrade, another from Elizabeth Eddy, to walk away with three points.

“It’s a tough result to swallow-I think a draw probably would’ve been a fair result… we certainly had a lot of chances,” Sky Blue head coach Jim Gabarra said after the match. “At times in the second half it looked like [the Flash] were fatiguing and we need to be a little more patient and move the ball a little bit quicker. We get in this lethargic tempo and that was playing into their hands.”

The match, with a Sky Blue season-high 3,152 attendees at Yurcak Field, opened with the home side caught heavily under assault from the Flash. However, the back line held steady until Sky Blue’s attack could find its footing. Katy Freels dodged the Flash’s defense, but her ultimate shot was snagged by goalkeeper Chantel Jones. Samantha Mewis returned the favor in the 7th minute, but missed hard and left of goal as Brittany Cameron laid out to attempt the save. O’Hara had a retort of her own off a ball in from Sam Kerr, but it ultimately did not find the back of the net.

The Flash’s most dangerous moment of the half came in the 14th minute as Cameron moved out of goal and Jasmyne Spencer seized the opportunity, only to nail the right goalpost.

In the 23rd minute, Michelle Heyman sent a cross to Spencer, but her on-frame attempt was stopped by a dynamic save from Cameron. Cami Levin responded, but Jones recorded another save on the effort. Sky Blue came flying in again with a high, on-target line drive from Kerr that was grabbed again by Jones.

After numerous attempted feeds, Nadia Nadim had a chance of her own in the 31st, but ultimately could not complete the opportunity. She flew back in again minutes later as Kerr sent a hard cross in, but Whitney Engen made a strong block to prevent it.

The Flash were the first on the board in the 34th as defensive missteps from Sky Blue’s back line and Cameron gave the Flash an open goal, with Lady Andrade finding the back of the net. O’Hara attempted to equalize moments later, but missed high over the crossbar.

Both sides had several attempts in the remainder of the half, including an on-target shot from Sarah Killion off service from Nadim, but the score remained 1-0 to end the first.

The second half began with a far more offensively aggressive Sky Blue, as Nadim took the opening shot in the 47th minute. Five minutes later, Kerr commenced a breakaway off a header from Levin, ending with O’Hara deftly handling the Flash defense and Jones to sink a high strike for the equalizer.

The Flash attempted to shake things up in the 61st minute, as Lynn Williams relieved Mewis, minutes after Sky Blue altered their back line, with Coco Goodson in for Kristin Grubka.

As both sides rallied back and forth, the goal-scoring Andrade was replaced by Halimatu Ayinde in the 69th minute. Kerr had a header opportunity off a high ball a minute later, but mishandled it into the ground and Jones’ hands. Kerr was replaced in the 73rd by Taylor Lytle.

Eddy came off the bench for Spencer in the 79th minute, moments before Freels took a weak shot into Jones’ hands. O’Hara had another attempt in the 82nd, but shot from too far out to pose a threat. Lytle came back downfield, but missed high and left of goal. Janelle Filigno replaced Killion in the 85th minute, as Coach Jim Gabarra attempted to find the difference-maker to put Sky Blue on the board.

In the 90th minute, Lynn Williams connected with Eddy in front of goal, who finished to put the Flash ahead.

Despite several poignant attempts at rebuttal, Sky Blue were unable to find the equalizer, as the game ended 2-1.

Looking ahead at Sky Blue’s playoff chances, Gabarra shared, “I’ve been looking at [the NWSL standings] for the last month or so, and the mood of the team now- it’s a devastating loss, but there’s still enough games, enough points out there to get to the number we need to get to the playoffs. It means we’re going to have to win a game on the road.”

Sky Blue FC takes on the Houston Dash at 8:30pm on Friday, August 7th at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, TX.  

  • Kevin

    Awesome to have the players from both teams who played on the world cup teams, both foreign and US, come over and sign autographs after the game..These girls are absolute hero’s to my daughter.

  • Andrew

    Really seemed like Sky Blue should’ve drawn a penalty kick from that tackle on Nadim in the box that happened in the final few minutes.

  • Dan L

    nwsl should really highlight on their website or team sites, which national world cup teams their players are on so we can start following them in that manner, gotta start somewhere.

  • Kevin

    I totally agree on both. I know one of the asst coaches on sky blue also and he also agreed about the fact that a penalty kick should have happened.
    And Dan I agree completely with you, it took me awhile to realize that Sam Kerr was on the team from Australia and the Columbian National was the one who scored the first goal for W. New York. They really should put out roster sheets for every game with a notation on who is a world cup player. Its such an accomplishment and no one knows them at all.