Sky Blue earn ugly 1-0 win over Boston Breakers

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by TOM SLATER

Aesthetically speaking, it wasn’t pretty. But they don’t give style points in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) and a win is worth three points no matter how it gets done.

Sky Blue FC will gladly take the victory  — a 1-0 win over the still-winless and still-scoreless Boston Breakers in front of a sparse crowd at Rutgers University’s  Yurcak Field.

That the only goal of the game was an own goal doesn’t matter.  The win gave Sky Blue its second win of the season and snapped a three-game winless streak that began after a season-opening win on the road.

“(I’m) happy with the result but the performance could have been better,” said Sky Blue FC coach Christy Holly. “The first half was good. The second half was what we didn’t have last week (a 2-1 loss to Western New York on two late goals).  From last week, a big improvement, a different mentality, a different mindset to manage the second half.”

The game’s only goal occurred in the 41st minute when Boston defender Kassey Kallman deflected a shot from Kelley O’Hara. The American international weaved inside the box and hit a hard shot toward the far post. Kallman tried to make the stop but deflected the ball into the near corner past goalkeeper Libby Stout who was caught going the wrong way.

Both teams had golden opportunities to add to the scoreboard but were denied by poor finishing and well-positioned goalkeepers.

Tasha Kai, who scored in the season-opener but has been blanked since, had several chances but came up empty. Kai had a great chance to put the hosts ahead in the 30th minute when Kelly Conheeney threaded the needle for the Hawaiian striker. Kai had Boston keeper Libby Stout at her mercy but struck the ball right at the keeper. Kai had two chance in the second half to do what she does best — head the ball but both went over the crossbar.

O’Hara and Maya Hayes were the two most dangerous Sky Blue players. O’Hara kept overlapping all night from both left and right back — sending in a series of crosses and hammering two shots that just missed. Hayes was active from the forward post and spent the evening showing for the ball, using her speed to make things happen.

Boston threatened in the final 10 minutes putting plenty of pressure on the Sky Blue defense but goalkeeper Caroline Stanley came up big. Stanley made two big saves on Katie Schoepfer.  Erin Simon, who had a brilliant night on defense and made several key runs to get into the offense, cleared a corner kick off the line.

The win evens Sky Blue’s record a 2-2-1 while Boston falls to 0-5 and has yet to score a goal in 2016. They have lost their last four games, 1-0.


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