Late Equalizer Forces Sky Blue FC to Settle for Home Draw
Photo by Robyn McNeil
Sky Blue FC and Houston Dash Play to 1-1 Result at Yurcak Field
Piscataway, N.J. (Sunday, May 31, 2015) – Sky Blue FC (1-3-4, 7 points) returned home to Yurcak Field on Sunday evening, playing the Houston Dash (2-2-3, 9 points) to a 1-1 result. Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Brittany Cameron put on a stellar performance that included six point blank saves, but an 86th minute equalizer by the visiting Dash forced the home side to settle for one point.
“We have to find a way to push through the lack of focus at the end of games,” said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC Technical Director & Head Coach. “We played well enough again today to come away with three points, but we did not do a good enough job of finishing our chances. As a team, we need to have a little bit better concentration to put shots on frame, as well as displaying that killer extinct to put goals away.”
Sky Blue FC opened the scoring in the 11th minute of this contest off a corner kick that was sent into play by midfielder Katy Freels. The well struck ball was placed onto the far post, where defender Kristin Grubka was awaiting. The 2014 NCAA College Cup winner then one-timed a header to midfielder Hayley Haagsma in front of the frame, and she quickly hammered a hard shot into the back of the net to make it 1-0 in favor of the hosts. The goal was the first in the professional career of Haagsma, while the assist was also the first for Grubka on her NWSL resume.
The score was nearly extended in the 32nd minute, as Freels sliced through the center of the Houston defense and caused its back line to crash on her. As soon as that happened, Kim DeCesare looped over her right shoulder into a wide open space and was fed into that area. DeCesare then stepped into the ball and struck a shot that was just outside the near post.
In the 60th minute of this match, Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Brittany Cameron was forced to make a very difficult save on a near equalizer from the Dash. Following a well-placed free kick from forward Kealia Ohai that found the head of midfielder Brittany Bock, Cameron extended to her right to punch the shot from Bock off the crossbar and keep it clean of the end line.
Houston was then presented with a huge chance in the 78th minute, following a whistle on top of the box for a tackle by defender Meg Morris that resulted in a penalty kick for the visiting Dash. Stepping over the try was forward Jessica McDonald. When the whistle was blown, she fired a shot towards the left netting, but Cameron again came up huge and stuffed her attempt to keep it 1-0 in favor of Sky Blue FC.
In the 86th minute of play, Houston was finally able to level the count. After Ohai raced down the right flank, she serviced a cross that was first collected and put on frame by forward Tiffany McCarty. Cameron again made an incredible diving save to keep it out of the net, but Dash striker Allie Bailey was there to put away the rebound and hang the final 1-1 tally.
“We are so strong defensively, but we have to do a better job of putting away games,” Haagsma said after the match. “It starts in the back and goes all the way up to the front. We have to get on the same page as a team and figure out that last piece of the puzzle that we have been missing.”
Sky Blue FC will now hit the road to play Seattle Reign FC next Saturday, June 6th. The National Women’s Soccer League will then take a break for the Group Stage of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup before the team returns home to Yurcak Field on Sunday, June 28th, to host the Chicago Red Stars at 6:00 PM EST.
Individual game tickets are on sale now. Make sure you catch all of the world class NWSL action this season at Yurcak Field by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849)!
Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash
May 31, 2015 – Yurcak Field
Piscataway, New Jersey
Sky Blue FC: 1-0-1
SBFC 11 H.Haagsma (K.Grubka)
HOU 86 A.Bailey
SBFC – B.Cameron (C), M.Hayes (S.Killion-81), K.Grubka, L.Cutshall, C.Levin, T.Lytle, K.Freels, H.Haagsma, K.DeCesare, S.Gordon (M.Morris-46), N.Nadim
Substitutes Not Used: A.Bledsoe, N.Stanton, M.Waldus, L.LaBonta, T.Diederich
HOU: B.Henninger, T.Pressley, K.Ohai, B.Bock, J.McDonald, N.Cross, M.Henderson (J.Jackson-70), C.Privett (T.McCarty-60), E.Brush, E.Masar (C), R.Axon
Substitutes Not Used: A.Bailey, J.LaPonte, J.Day
SBFC 86 Yellow Card: K.DeCesare