Sky Blue FC (3-3-2, 11 points) hit the road on Sunday as they met their regional rival, the Philadelphia Independence, for the first time this season. The match saw the return of a familiar face for the visiting side, as defender and captain Christie Rampone made her first appearance of 2010.
Philadelphia didn’t waste any time in getting the scoring started as Amy Rodriguez found Lori Lindsey on the right side of the field in only the third minute of the match. Lindsey was able to find the space to unleash a blast from 20 yards out that found the upper 90 and gave the Independence an early lead.
The lead did not last long as Sky Blue FC was able to fight their way back onto the scoreboard in just the 11th minute. Brazilian midfielder Rosana played a volley into the box that found Laura Kalmari, who brought the ball down and split her defenders in one deft touch.
Independence goalkeeper Val Henderson was unable to take away the space before Kalmari blasted a shot past her. Kalmari now leads the team in scoring with four goals on the year.
The Independence were able to regain the lead in the 28th minute. Lianne Sanderson slotted a pass to Rodriguez on the left side of the goal. She was able to turn and chip a shot just past Bardsley to give the Independence a 2-1 advantage going into the locker room.
The second half began with the same energy, although neither team was able to repeat the quick scoring from the first half.
But perhaps one of the biggest moments came in the 56th minute when Sky Blue FC made its second substitution of the game. Christie Rampone replaced Kacey White for her first minutes of the 2010 season. In a classy move by White, she immediately gave Rampone the captain’s band before she had even come off the field.
“The first thing Kacey did was come straight to me with the captain’s band, and it is a truly special feeling to be treated in such a manner by your teammate,” Rampone stated. “As far as the game was concerned, everything on the ground felt good today. The next step will be to get more minutes so I can really begin to feel more comfortable. Overall, it’s just exciting to be back!”
Sky Blue FC had several opportunities to capitalize and get the equalizer, but the Philadelphia backline, led by Val Henderson, were able to keep the reigning champions scoreless in the second half. Rodriguez’s first half tally proved to be the difference as the final score was 2-1.
“We created chances on the goal line, but we just weren’t able to put them away,” Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen said after the game. “We just need to do a little bit more work on moving faster off the ball, and we will be able to capitalize on those opportunities.”
Sky Blue FC’s next match will be this Sunday, June 13 when they take on the Boston Breakers for the second time this season.
The team will return to New Jersey on Saturday, June 19th, to host Philadelphia, and tickets for that game are available now by clicking here or calling 1-888-SBFC-TIX.