Bridgeville, Ill (April 25, 2010) – Sky Blue FC was able to battle through the rain and wind to scrape out a 1-0 victory over the Chicago Red Stars at Toyota Park last night. With the win, Sky Blue FC now sits atop the WPS standings, tied with FC Gold Pride with identical 2-1-0 records for six points.
The first half featured both teams trying to find some sort of rhythm. In the seventh minute, Tasha Kai took a pass from Rosana and tried to slot the ball home, but her shot went straight at Red Stars keeper Jillian Loyden. The play was eerily similar to Kai’s goal against the Red Stars on opening weekend.
The wind was definitely a factor for both sides as some passes through the air careened away from their intended target.
In the 13th minute, midfielder Carli Lloyd had her shot partially blocked and it trickled back towards Loyden, but forward Jessica Landstrom was able to knock the ball away from Loyden and looked poised to score. At the last moment the keeper was able to recover and grabbed the ball before Landstrom could get a shot off.
Lloyd was booked in the 18th minute for a hard foul on Chicago forward Cristane, but would leave the match in the 35th minute after suffering a lower leg injury. She went down holding her left leg but after a few agonizing minutes on the turf for Sky Blue FC fans, was able to gingerly walk off the field under her own power.
The extent of her injury is unknown and she will be evaluated by the Sky Blue FC medical team upon returning to New Jersey.
The Red Stars looked to have gone on top as halftime neared but Kosovare Asllani was called offside as she put the ball in the back of the net. The visiting side was almost able to answer just before heading into the locker room, but Kai’s shot was tipped just enough by Loyden to evade the goal.
The second half brought with it the rain that had been setting in during the first half, but the visitors were able to get on the board in the 52nd minute. Tasha Kai netted her second goal of the season off a Kacey White pass to give Sky Blue FC a 1-0 lead.
They wouldn’t look back for the remainder of the game. The Red Stars continued to press and for a moment it would seem like the home side had ended a scoreless drought against Sky Blue FC. But Cristiane’s tally would be negated as the play was also called offsides.
In the end, the back line of Keeley Downing, Daphne Koster, Brittany Taylor and Megan Schnur, along with English National team goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, would be able to hold off the Red Stars pressing attack and the team would come away from Chicago with three points.
Sky Blue FC will play host to FC Gold Pride live on Fox Soccer Channel on Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 6PM ET / 3PM PT at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ. The reigning WPS champions will look to defend their turf and avenge their only loss of the season as Marta and the rest of the Pride come to town. To purchase tickets, please visit www.womensprosoccer.com/ny or call 1-888-SBFC-TIX.
Photo courtesy of www.womensprosoccer.com/ny