BOYDS, M.D. (August 16, 2014) – Sky Blue FC (8-8-7, 31 pts) continued its winning ways on Saturday night by defeating the Washington Spirit (10-9-5, 35 pts) by a final score of 1-0 at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Md. Forward Monica Ocampo scored the lone goal of the match to lift the New Jersey club to its fourth consecutive victory.
“It’s a good matchup for us,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra said. “We certainly had quite a bit of luck tonight, but the effort the players put in coming off a short rest and a tough trip to Rochester was amazing.”
Both teams had several scoring chances early on in the match, but Sky Blue FC would strike first in the 27th minute of action.
After gaining possession, the NJ squad worked the ball up the field to Kelley O’Hara on the left flank. O’Hara cut the ball backwards to create space for herself and played a ball into the box towards teammate Maya Hayes. Spirit defender Toni Pressley beat Hayes to it and headed it away, but the clear went right to Ocampo. Ocampo chested the ball, then volleyed a shot into the lower left corner for the first goal of the match.
Washington would have several opportunities to tie the game before halftime. In the 34th minute, Spirit midfielder Christine Nairn split the SBFC defense to find a sprinting Tori Huster. Huster used her first touch to try and beat Loyden with a shot, but Loyden deflected it upwards and collected before Huster could reach her.
Five minutes later, the Spirit had another chance to even the score. Defender Caitlin Foord passed a ball back towards Loyden, but Washington forward Lisa De Vanna read the play and quickly applied pressure. She stripped the ball from Loyden, but De Vanna’s touch was too strong as the ball rolled just wide right of the open net for a goal kick.
The score remained 1-0 in favor of Sky Blue FC at the half, and the team looked to continue its momentum as O’Hara had the first shot of the second half.
O’Hara once again created space for herself in the 59th minute and ripped a shot inside the box towards the opposite corner. The ball flew past a diving Chantel Jones but ricocheted off the right post and was eventually cleared away by the Spirit defense.
As the game progressed, the Spirit added more offensive pressure to try and equalize. Throughout the second half, Loyden came off her line to smother several Washington chances and keep the score line the same.
In added time, defender Ali Krieger took a one-time shot from outside the box that was deflected off a Sky Blue FC defender. Loyden still managed to dive to her left and push the ball away from goal to secure the shutout at the final whistle.
Although SBFC earned three points with the win, the club was eliminated from the 2014 NWSL playoffs after the Chicago Red Stars and Western NY Flash tied 3-3 on Saturday night.
Sky Blue FC returns home on Wednesday, August 20 to host the Houston Dash for the final game of the 2014 NWSL regular season. Visittickets.skybluefc.com or call 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849) to purchase tickets.
Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue FC
August 16, 2014 – Maryland SoccerPlex
|Sky Blue FC||1||0||1|
SBFC – Ocampo 27’
WAS – Jones; Singer, Pressley (Cross 74), Krieger, Dunn; Huster, Nairn, Lindsey (Averbuch 69); Matheson, De Vanna, Garfrekes (Gayle 84)
Substitutes Not Used: Perez, Angeli, Adams, Gay
SBFC – Loyden; Levin, Goodson, Rampone, Foord; Nick, Schmidt, Freels; O’Hara, Ocampo (Filigno 57), Hayes
Substitutes Not Used: Cameron, Kiryu, Johnson, Thompson, Morris, Stanton
Referee: David Mon
Assistant Referees: TJ Zablocki; Paul Ciaramitaro
Fourth Official: Chris Shreve