Orlando, Fla. (June 16, 2018) – Sky Blue FC (0-9-2, 2 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday night, falling to the Orlando Pride (5-3-4, 19 points) at Orlando City Stadium, 3-2. The New Jersey club saw two different players record goals in the match, with Savannah McCaskill and Madison Tiernan scoring first-half tallies.
“To score two goals on the road and not come away with at least a point is disappointing,” said Denise Reddy, Sky Blue FC head coach. “On two different occasions, we were able to persevere and find equalizers, which clearly shows the character of our team. However, we have to tighten up the small details in order to minimize the opportunities that our opponents are able to create.”
Orlando got on the board tonight very quickly, finding the back of the net in the 2nd minute. On the sequence, Chioma Ubogagu was played into a run on the left flank before a sending a ball into the penalty area. The beneficiary of her distribution was Sydney Leroux, who touched around a defender before finishing and giving her team an early 1-0 advantage.
Sky Blue FC leveled things up in the 16th minute after Imani Dorsey picked off a Christine Nairn pass in the midfield and fed the ball to McCaskill, who then headed upfield with possession. As the Pride defense began collapsing on her, McCaskill hit an overlapping Dorsey to her left, who struck a left-footed shot that was turned away by Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. There to collect the rebound was McCaskill, who one-touched the equalizer into the back of the net.
The Pride regained the lead in the 31st minute, as Nairn sent a looping ball into the box that found Leroux with a diving header. Her touch was enough to redirect the service into the goal and make it a 2-1 contest.
In the 37th minute, Sky Blue FC was once again able to equalize. Following a throw-in by Christina Gibbons, Katie Johnson got off a shot that forced Harris to make a diving save. Similar to the first Sky Blue FC goal, Madison Tiernan was positioned perfectly to grab the rebound and fired a one-timer past Harris to make it all level at two goals apiece.
The second half saw back-and-forth action throughout, with both sides creating their fair share of opportunities. However, it would be Orlando that found the eventual game-winner in the 83rd minute.
On that series, Marta played Alex Morgan into space on the left flank, where she then sent a cross towards the far post. There to receive her pass was Rachel Hill, and she was able to strike a header that made it a 3-2 game. That count would remain until the final whistle was blown, giving the Pride the win on its home soil.
Next up for Sky Blue FC is a road pairing with Portland Thorns FC on Wednesday, June 27. The team will return home to Yurcak Field on July 7 to host the Chicago Red Stars. Tickets for that match are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
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NWSL Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Orlando Pride
Date: June 16, 2018
Venue: Orlando City Stadium; Orlando, Florida
Weather: 77 degrees, sunny
NJ: 2 | 0 – 2
ORL: 2 | 1 – 3
2’ ORL – Sydney Leroux (Chioma Ubogagu)
16’ NJ – Savannah McCaskill
31’ ORL – Sydney Leroux (Christine Nairn)
37’ NJ – Madison Tiernan
83’ ORL Rachel Hill (Alex Morgan)
NJ: Sheridan, Gibbons, Richardson, Freeman, Skroski (Frisbie-55), Dorsey, Lloyd, Killion, Tiernan (Beckie-60), Johnson (Thaisa-82), McCaskill
Subs not used: Casey, Meehan, Stott, Abam
Head Coach: Denise Reddy
ORL: Harris, Pickett, Zadorsky, Monica, Poliana, Kennedy, Nairn (Marta-73), van Egmond (Weatherholt-60), Ubogagu (Hill-60), Morgan, Leroux
Subs Not Used: Kopmeyer, Pressley, Evans, Edmonds
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni
Stats Summary: ORL / NJ
Shots: 20 / 18
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 11 / 9
Offside: 4 / 2
45’ NJ – Christina Gibbons (Yellow Card)
75’ ORL – Sydney Leroux
85’ NJ – Carli Lloyd
Referee: Matthew Franz
Assistant Referee 1: Tom Felice
Assistant Referee 2: Ben Pilgrim
Fourth Official: Janessa Guinn
Saker ShopRites Woman of the Match: Savannah McCaskill