Sky Blue See Off Red Storm In First Preseason Match

Midfielder Katy Freels, photo by Dennis Schneidler, Sky Blue FC

by Chris Henderson
NWSL Beat Writer

Sterner tests will come for Sky Blue FC, but a 3-0 win over St. John’s University in their first preseason match on Saturday provided a positive start for the team’s potential midfield duo.

Veteran Katy Freels set up her rookie partner Sarah Killion for the second goal, after scoring a penalty kick for the first. The two combined consistently throughout the game that saw all three goals come after halftime and the ball rarely leave the Red Storm’s half. Striker Maya Hayes added the final goal.

“Right now you’re looking at partnerships and pairings more than anything else, how Sarah and Katy are playing together or the centerbacks Kristin (Grubka) and Lindsi (Cutshall).” said head coach Jim Gabarra.

Freels opened the scoring five minutes after halftime with a penalty shot out of the goalkeeper’s reach into the lower left corner. Hayes has been tripped in the box just a couple of minutes after being knocked over without drawing a call.

Six minutes later, high pressure from Freels saw her win the ball off a defender on the right side of the penalty box. She slotted in a running Killion who scored with a first-time shot.

Hayes finished the scoring with a late strike from 10 yards out after receiving a through ball from trialist Theresa Diederich.

With many international players unavailable and college seniors still finishing school, Gabarra gave several of the players trying to win roster spots a chance for significant minutes, including forwards Gibby Wagner and Maryam Huseini, and midfielders Maruschka Waldus and Rachel Breton.