Piscataway, N.J. (Wednesday, May 7, 2014) – Sky Blue FC (1-2-3, 6 Points) welcomed the Chicago Red Stars (1-2-1, 4 Points) into Yurcak Field on Wednesday night, with the result of the match being a level 1-1 tally. The lone goal of the evening for Sky Blue FC came on a 27th minute penalty kick conversion by captain Katy Freels, with the Red Stars evening the count off the foot of striker Hayley Brock in the 58th minute.
“I thought we gave a great effort tonight. We just have to find that final push to put our chances away,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra stated. “We were missing a lot of parts tonight (due to the absence of national team players), but that gives other players the chance to step up. We played with a good mentality, but we just need to create a little more of a killer instinct to accomplish the goals we have set for ourselves this season.”
In the 8th minute of this contest, Sky Blue FC unloaded a flurry of shots in the direction of Chicago netminder Taylor Vancil, but she was able to athletically turn away each well-struck attempt. She first saw a hard shot come off the foot of Mexican striker Monica Ocampo from the top of the penalty area, only to watch her save deflected to Freels, who fired off two attempts that Vancil was able to correctly judge. A bit of a frantic battle ensued after the last denial, and the ball was finally booted away before any damage occurred.
The deadlock in this match was eventually broken in the 27th minute. On the set-up play, a long ball was sent into the Chicago box, where it bounced off the hand of defender Julianne Sitch for a Sky Blue FC penalty kick. Stepping over the opportunity was Freels, and she easily slotted the ball into the left netting after Vancil dove in the countering direction.
On the opposite end of the field, Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Brittany Cameron played a very solid half in net for her team, turning away a handful of point blank shots that could very easily have shifted the count before intermission. Among those impressive efforts was a key save in the final moments of the opening half, where a ball was serviced from the right flank to the mouth of the goal. There awaiting the feed was Red Stars midfielder Alyssa Mautz, who quickly collected distribution and redirected it towards the frame. However, a diving Cameron was in perfect position to knock it away, and the hosts took a 1-0 advantage into the locker rooms at halftime.
After an aggressive start to the second half of play, Chicago was able to level the terms in the 58th minute. Finding herself with the ball at her feet and a small window of space, Brock was able to fire off a shot that curled past the outstretched arms of a diving Cameron and snuck under the crossbar. The notch was the first in the professional career of Brock, evening the tally at a goal apiece.
Chicago nearly gained the lead in the 86th minute, with midfielder Zakiya Bywaters making a run to the end line just wide of the right post. She then quickly turned and hit a hard roller towards the front of the frame, and awaiting the feed was forward Jennifer Hoy. With no hesitation, she hammered a short shot on target, but Cameron stepped up once again to turn away the dangerous attempt.
“I think it was a bit of a disappointing result because you always want to get three points at home,” Freels said after the match. “We really wanted to get the result here tonight, but credit Chicago for fighting all the way to the end. We just have to capitalize more on our chances and continue to develop as a team. As that happens, we will be in pretty good shape.”
Sky Blue FC will now hit the road for its next three matches, returning to action this Sunday to face the Western New York Flash. The team comes back to Yurcak Field on Wednesday, May 28th, hosting the Chicago Red Stars at 7:00 p.m. To purchase tickets for that game, visit tickets.skybluefc.com or call 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849) today.
Chicago Red Stars vs. Sky Blue FC
May 7, 2014 – Yurcak Field
Chicago Red Stars 0 1 1
Sky Blue FC 1 0 1
27’ SBFC – K.Freels (Penalty Kick)
58’ CRS – H.Brock (Unassisted)
CRS Starting XI: Vancil, Sitch (Wenino-46), Quon, Morway, Johnson, Chalupny (C), DiBernardo, Mautz (Bywaters-46), Santacaterina, Hoy, Brock (Read-84)
Substitutes: All Used.
SBFC Starting XI: Cameron, Foord, Goodson, Johnson, Nick, Thompson, Freels (C), Kiryu, Lytle, Hayes (Levin-46), Ocampo
Substitutes Not Used: Arroyo Fonseca, Breton, Cutshall, Dipaolo, Morris, Stanton
14 – C.Goodson (SBFC): Yellow Card
25 – A.Mautz (CRS): Yellow Card
88 – J.Hoy (CRS): Yellow Card