Sky Blue FC and Western New York Flash Battle to 3-3 Draw

IMAGE, SKYBLUEFC.COM

By MC Bousquette
Staff Writer

Sky Blue FC emerged with a much-needed point after an intense offensive faceoff against Western New York Flash ended 3-3.

The match, played in a hot and muggy Rochester climate, was replete with offensive chances, botched defensive plays, and impactful performances from national team players.

Both sides gave their US Women’s National Team players their first starts since the World Cup ended. Whitney Engen returned to the Flash’s back line, while Christie Rampone and Kelley O’Hara opened the match with Sky Blue’s defense.

The first half began with the impression that the Flash would walk away with three points. Only two minutes into the match, Jasmyne Spencer converted a corner, putting the Flash up 1-0. Jaelene Hinkle widened the lead to 2-0 in the 25th minute, as she sent a shot from the top of the box past Rampone and into the left side of the net. Although a well-placed chip from O’Hara reached Nadia Nadim to put Sky Blue on the board, the half ended with an offensively dominant Flash leading 2-1.

Coach Jim Gabarra rearranged the lineup strategically after seeing O’Hara’s impact up top. Gabarra moved O’Hara to midfield towards the conclusion of the first half, as Cammi Levin entered for Lindsi Cutshall at left back and midfielder Hayley Haagsma dropped to center back.

Minutes into the second half, the Flash opened the scoring. Australian WNT player Michelle Heyman scored in her first NWSL match ever, bringing the Flash’s lead to 3-1.

Although this looked like the goal that would seal the match, Sky Blue had other ideas. In a sudden spurt of energy amidst the lineup shift, the side that had not scored more than once in a match during the entire season came alive to salvage the game.

Rampone connected with O’Hara in the 60th minute, as O’Hara maneuvered into Flash territory. She sent the ball in to Katy Freels, who drove a shot past goalkeeper Chantel Jones to close the gap. Just two minutes later, Freels sent a corner into the box, as Rampone finished the opportunity, notching the second goal of her professional career. The equalizer was the final goal of the match, which ended 3-3 despite persistent attempts from both sides to one up the other in the remaining minutes.

“I really liked the resiliency we showed today, particularly in the second half,” said Gabarra, “Both teams had some mental breakdowns on the goals, but I was proud of the way we played overall. We put them under a lot of pressure and created a lot of chances in both halves.  It is a little disappointing to not come away with the three points, but scoring three goals on the road is very gratifying.”

Although there is still a long road ahead, Sky Blue’s point will help them as they attempt to dig themselves up from the bottom of the NWSL table.

Sky Blue FC takes on the Boston Breakers Saturday, July 25th at 7pm EST at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey.

Scoring Summary

SBFC: 1-2-3

WNYF: 2-1-3

WNYF 2 J.Spencer

WNYF 25 J.Hinkle

SBFC 39 N.Nadim (K.O’Hara)

WNYF 50 M.Heyman

SBFC 60 K.Freels (K.O’Hara)

SBFC 62 C.Rampone (K.Freels)

Lineups:

SBFC – Cameron, Foord, Rampone (C), Cutshall (Levin-41), O’Hara (Gordon-91), Haagsma, Lytle, Killion, Freels, Nadim (Filigno-89), Kerr

Substitutes Not Used: Bledsoe, Grubka, Stanton, Goodson

WNYF: Jones, Dahlkemper, Engen, Taylor (C), Hinkle, Nick (Eddy-64), Edwards, Mewis, Spencer, Heyman (Hamilton-80), Williams

Substitutes Not Used: D’Angelo, Frisbie, Njoya

Misconduct Summary:

SBFC 94 T.Lytle (Yellow Card)

 


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