Sky Blue Wins on Late Goal by Rodriguez

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By TOM SLATER

imagesizecacheurlPISCATAWAY, N.J. — FC Kansas City and Sky Blue limped into Sunday’s game at Rutgers University’s Yurcak Field looking for goal

Raquel Rodriguez, the National Women’s Soccer League’s Rookie of the Year in 2016, scored the decisive goal in Sky Blue’s 1-0 victory. She planted a left-footed shot past K.C. goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart in the 82nd minute. It was the home team’s first win of the year after a draw and loss.

The victory was the first for Sky Blue (1-1-1, 4 points) first against FC Kansas City (1-2-0, 3) at home and the club’s first victory in a home opener 2013.

On the goal, Kelley O’Hara sent a corner kick to the far post where the rookie Mandy Freeman settled and directed a pass to the center of the box. Rodriguez hit the ball first time past the diving Barnhart.

The goal was special Rodriguez because her father made the trip from his native Costa Rica to attend the game.

“He’s my biggest fan,” Rodriguez said after the game. “He follows me online but he doesn’t get t see me play too many times in person. It made the goal even better.”

But both teams were playing without key players. The visiting Blues were missing last year’s top scorer Shea Groom and United States international Amy Rodriguez, while the hosts were without Sam Kerr and Christie Pearce.