Sky Blue hands Houston Dash sixth consecutive 1-0 defeat

taylor lytle

by TOM SLATER

The 1-0 scoreline is probably sickening to the Houston Dash. They’ve seen it for the last six weeks and they’ve been on the losing end all six weeks — establishing a club record and league record for futility.

But to Sky Blue FC, the 1-0 score against the Dash was just fine. Sky Blue picked up  three points in a key National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) match at Rutgers University’s Yurcak Fied Saturday.

Taylor Lytle, the team leader in assists with four, got the game’s only goal in the 53rd minute with a blistering shot. Sarah Killion, the midfield engine, won a ball just inside the Dash’s half and sent a diagonal ball to Lytle. The midfielder took one step and smashed a blistering shot in the upper left past a diving Bianca Henninger for the game’s only goal.

“I’ve been hitting them from there in practice and everybody’s been telling me to take those shots,” said Lytle. “Sarah just gave me a great ball and the shot was just there. I’ve been trying to just do my job and it’s easy to play with Sarah and Raquel (Rodriguez).

Coach Christy Holly said it was no surprise that Lytle scored on that shot.

“We’ve been telling her to take those for the last year and half,” said Holly. “She’s playing great all season and it was great to see her get the goal.”

Lytle almost got another in the 73rd minute from nearly the same spot. This time, however, Henninger streteched out to parry the shot wide.

Sky Blue evened its record to 4-4-4 for 16 points.

The home team came out strong with Sam Kerr and Leah Galton playing wide. Kerr started for the first time all year and went a full 90 minutes. The two speedsters gave Sky Blue balance on the attack and kept Houston on edge, especially in the first half.

Hawaiian striker Tasha Kai was the beneficiary of that play. Kai had two headers that were just off the mark but her best chance came in the 39th minute when she beat the offside trap and Killion served. Kai went one on one with Henninger but shot wide to the far post.

For Houston, Melissa Henderson, English international Rachel Daly and Kealia Ohai weaved their ways to a few chances early but it never paid off on a close call.

Amber Brooks, the former New Jersey scholastic star, banged a shot off the right post from 35 yards out in the 40th minute. The ball banged off the post so hard and fast the Dash never got a chance to convert the rebound. Chioma Ubogagu came for the last 20 minutes and provided the most dangerous opportunities with her dribbling. But two long shots were handled by goalkeeper Caroline Casey easily. Casey earned her first shutout of her professional career as Sky Blue swept the season series.