Kerr Scores 4 in Sky Blue Win Over Seattle

Samantha Kerr

sky blue logoAfter what could reasonably be decsribed as the most tumultuous week in Sky Blue history, few expected them to beat the surging Seattle Reign on Saturday night at Rutgers University.

Christy Holly departed as the coach on Wednesday. Then their captain and most recognizable player, Christie Pearce was ruled out for the rest of the season — the night before the game. The team had already lost any early season momentum with a porous defense that allowed a league-worst 14 goals in three straight losses.

Sky Blue seemed headed for disaster as Seattle sped to a 3-0 lead in the first half. Enter Sam Kerr.

Kerr became the first Sky Blue and National Women’s Soccer League player to score four goals in a game — all in the second half, to give Sky Blue a stunning 5-4 victory over Seattle. The last one came in second-half stoppage time — a minute after she missed a penalty kick — to send the entire Sky Blue bench sprinting onto the field before a big crowd at Yurcak Field.

The victory keeps Sky Blue (8-9-2, 26 points) in the playoff race while Seattle (7-6-6, 27 points) falls into fifth place. The Orlando Pride moved into the fourth spot with their 2-1 win over Boston Saturday.

Kerr, who leads the league, with 15 goals, headed in a Taylor Lytle corner kick for the game winner. A minute earlier, she banged a penalty kick off the crossbar but more than made up for it.

“I don’t take penalties [usually],” she said. “And I was really mad I missed it because I would have scored five goals. But I knew I had to make up for it and get Taylor’s corner kick.”

Kerr almost wasn’t enough. After bringing Sky Blue all the way back with a natural hat trick to tie the game at 3, Seattle went ahead in the 84th minute when Kiersten Dallstream put in a rebound of Rumi Usugi’s shot saved by Kailen Sheridan.

But Maya Hayes brought Sky Blue back again when she headed  pass home from Domi Richardson.

“I just wanted to give us energy,” Hayes said in coming off the bench. “I saw the chance and was able to finish. This team never quit in the second half.”

But Kerr began her historic night for Sky Blue three minutes into the second half. Lytle hit a corner kick to the far post where Ericka Skroski headed it across the goal to Kerr.

Kerr struck again in the 68th minute when Daphne Corboz lofted a ball to a streaking Kerr who beat Carson Pickett one-on-one and slotted a hard, low shot past Haley Kopmayer, making it 3-2.

In the 71st minute, the Australian international took a pass from Skroski and took on three defenders and lofted a high bending shot toward the right post. It was a hat trick for Kerr. But the magic was only beginning.