Kerr Goal, O’Hara’s brace lift Sky Blue FC 3-1 over Boston Breakers

Photo: Sky Blue FC

By MC Bousquette
Staff Writer

In a show of offensive fireworks and defensive solidity, Sky Blue FC took down the Boston Breakers 3-1 with a goal from Sam Kerr and a brace from Kelley O’Hara.

The Breakers, visibly tired from their match on Wednesday, were able to get on the scoreboard with a goal from Lauren Lazo, but were ultimately no match for Sky Blue’s three goals.

The first half was disastrously lopsided for the Breakers, as Sky Blue FC owned possession and battered the Breakers’ defense. Sky Blue started early, as Nadia Nadim fired a bullet directly into goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher in the 3rd minute. Nadim followed up twice more, tripping before she was able to shoot, then connecting with Katy Freels, who was unable to complete the attempt.

O’Hara, who Coach Jim Gabarra started up top, made an immediate impact with the opening goal in the 13th minute off a cross from Freels.

Kristie Mewis provided the Breakers’ first meaningful attempt at a retort in the 18th minute, but her weak shot foreshadowed the rest of Boston’s evening as goalkeeper Brittany Cameron made the easy save. Kerr continued Sky Blue’s ownership of the half, sending a volley just over the crossbar off a pass from O’Hara in the 20th minute. Kerr tried again a couple of minutes later, but found herself too deep in the box to finish the sliding attempt.

Morgan Marlborough tried for the equalizer in the 34th, but the result was another soft shot ending in Cameron’s hands.

O’Hara notched her second goal of the night in the 36th minute off a sliding assist from Kerr. O’Hara had the last word of the half, as she forced Naeher into yet another dynamic save. The half ended 2-0, as Sky Blue’s relentless assault paid off.

The second half began much like the first, as Freels sent a shot off minutes into the half, but her attempt was off target. Kerr flew into the box in the 52nd minute, evading Naeher with a perfectly on frame chip over her, bringing Sky Blue’s lead to 3-0. The Breakers, in an attempt to increase firepower, brought on Stephanie McCaffrey for Marlborough in the 53rd.

Nadim nailed the crossbar in the 60th minute, adding another to her tally of near-misses. Taylor Lytle relieved Kerr in the 62nd minute, just before O’Hara tried for a hat trick and missed high. Lytle took a shot of her own in the 71st minute, but the persistent Naeher saved it.

The trend of Sky Blue dominance continued, as the New Jersey side threatened the Breakers time after time, ultimately racking up 27 shots. Canadian WNT member Jonelle Filigno came on for Nadim in the 73rd minute, adding to her post-World Cup minutes.

Aubrey Bledsoe replaced Cameron in the 83rd minute, just before the Breakers made their way onto the scoreboard in the 84th minute as Lazo found the back of the net.

With the last serious threat from either side in the match, Kyah Simon tried to close the gap in the 87th minute, but Bledsoe stopped Simon in her tracks. The final result stuck 3-1, as Sky Blue continues its upward swing amidst the return of its national team players.

“It’s fun to be back, and I’m happy,”said O’Hara, “I love playing with this team, even just going to training – it’s nice to get into a rhythm. I’m excited to be with NWSL, with Sky Blue, even though it’s a lot to mentally and physically take on, but it’s part of the job.”

Gabarra summed up Sky Blue’s determined mentality; “I’ve never stop thinking about playoffs- that’s our goal, and we’ve got to take it one at a time. It’s in our hands with the teams that are right above us in the standings.”

Sky Blue FC takes on the Western New York Flash Saturday, August 1st at 7pm in Piscataway, NJ at Yurcak Field.

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