Kerr, Hayes lead Sky Blue FC to comeback win over Orlando

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It was truly a tale of two halves and Sky Blue FC came out on top.

Sky Blue FC scored twice in the second half to erase a 1-0 Orlando Pride lead and take a 2-1 win at Camping World Stadium.

The victory was the seventh of the season for Sky Blue (6-7-5, 23 points) whom now have a chance to finish at .500 and perhaps surpass Seattle and finish in the top five in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Orlando fell to 6-11-1 and 19 points in its inaugural season. The two teams drew 1-1 Wednesday in New Jersey.

As usual, Australian international Sam Kerr was in the middle of the comeback. And this time, she had some help from Maya Hayes. On her 23rd birthday, Kerr scored her fifth goal of the year and fourth goal in the last four games to bring Sky Blue level in the 48th minute. She now has 11 goals in 17 matches.

Five minutes later, she set up Hayes for her third goal of the season and the eventual game-winner.

Orlando took a 1-0 lead right before halftime on a spectacular free kick by New Jersey native Kristen Edwards. After Alex Morgan was fouled about 10 yards outside the penalty area. Edwards curved her shot around the wall and into the upper right corner, where goalkeeper Caroline Casey had no chance.

Sky Blue didn’t have much going in the opening half. Kerr had a golden opportunity by taking a long ball from Sarah Killion and turned defender Josee Belanger inside out and had the opportunity to go far post. Instead, she tried to beat Ashlyn Harris near post and send the ball wide.

Hayes was also active, taking turns going down the right and left side but couldn’t connect on her final pass.

It would immediately get better in the second half. Kerr took a square pass from Tasha Kai about 30 yards out and immediately turned on the jets. She beat a trio of Pride defenders before approaching Harris one-on-one and slotting it home with a low shot to her left.

Five minutes later, Kerr chipped a pass for the speedy Hayes. The Penn State grad beat jetted in on goal and Harris came out to make the initial stop. She couldn’t control the rebound, however, and Hayes was able to find the empty net.

Kerr nearly doubled the lead when Kelley O’Hara served her near post. The Australian flick header was stopped on a great save from Harris.

Orlando had a couple of chances late but never could quite connect. Monica stepped forward on an advantage after Erin Simon fouled Jasmyne Spencer but her shot went well over the bar. In stoppage time, Morgan made a great run to endline and served a sensational ball to far pos. Laura Alleway, back from injury, got to the ball but headed the ball over the bar.