Sky Blue’s Amazing Comeback Falls Short

rapinoe and daphne corboz

By TOM SLATER

sky blue logoFor the third straight game, a dramatic goal in the closing minutes was the difference for Sky Blue on Saturday night.

But for the first time this month the goal was not scored by Sam Kerr. Instead it was Seattle’s Megan Rapinoe who plunged the dagger into the visitors.

Rapinoe thwarted what would have been the greatest comeback in the National Women’s Soccer League with her goal in the 87th minute — her third of the night — to give Seattle a wild 5-4 win at Memorial Stadium in a match between the league’s two most potent offenses.

Kerr did score in dramatic fashion — tying the match as Sky Blue battled back from a 4-0 deficit. In the 76th minute she redirected a near-perfect pas from Daphne Corboz, the rookie midfielder who scored her first NWSL goal only four minutes earlier.  It marked the first time an NWSL team had erased a four-goal margin.

That goal appeared to complete a wild comeback for Sky Blue (7-7-2, 23 points) — four goals in 20 minutes — in a match that saw Sky Blue hold a 31-11 shot advantage and in a game in which goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan make no saves.

Rapinoe, a United States international, finished her hat trick and the game with a deft give-and-go with the rookie Kate Johnson. Rapinoe had room just past the 18 and hit a left-footed rocket that eluded Sheridan and flew into top right corner.

That goal finished a record night for Rapinoe, who scored on a free kick, a penalty kick and in the run of play. She now leads the NWSL in scoring with 12 goals ,while Kerr has with 11.

The nine combined goals is tied for most in NWSL history (Portland topped Boston, 6-3, on July 20, 2014). Sky Blue’s four goals are the most in a loss.

The Reign (6-3-6, 24) jumped over Sky Blue and into in fourth place as Portland (7-4-4) moved into third with a 2-1 win over Washington. The league begins its second international break and will resume play the first week of August.