A Look Back: Sky Blue FC's June Rollercoaster Ride
The month of June was a busy one for the reigning WPS champions. It began with the aftermath of the St. Louis Athletica suspending operations and consequently scattering players across the league.
There was much speculation on where the Athletica players would wind up signing and Sky Blue FC was in the thick of those debates when it came down to Japanese midfielder Aya Miyama, who went on to sign with the Atlanta Beat. Sky Blue FC did sign Kendall Fletcher to their roster as a developmental player as well as signing Italian captain Patrizia Panico.
Results were definitely a roller coaster for this team who entered the month with a record of 3-2-2 for 11 points. The month began with a 2-1 loss to regional rival Philadephia on June 6. Sky Blue was able to bounce back from an early deficit to tie the game in just the 11th minute.
But the Independence were able to regain the lead midway through the first half and never looked back.
Defender Christie Rampone (pictured above after being handed the 2009 WPS Championship trophy) made her return to the field, coming on for Kacey White in the 56th minute. White immediately handed Rampone the captain’s armband as she exited the field.
Sky Blue FC was able to bounce back the following week with a another 2-1 result, this time in their favor as they downed the Boston Breakers. They were forced to bounce back from yet another early deficit but were able to even the score on a Heather O’Reilly goal early in the second half.
The game would stay deadlocked as the game progressed, seemingly going to end in a draw. Three minutes of stoppage time was added on and a late take down by Lauren Cheney gave Sky Blue FC a chance to escape with three points. Brazilian midfielder Rosana stepped up and buried the kick.
The next week was a rematch with regional rival Philadelphia. Both teams were without several starters as the European international players were away playing with their respective national teams overseas.
The Independence were able to get on the board early on, putting the home side in a hole for the third game in a row on a Danesha Adams goal in just the fifth minute. Philadelphia was able to double its lead before twenty minutes was played as Amy Rodriguez buried a strike thirteen minutes later.
Sky Blue was able to slice the lead in half midway through the first half as forward Tasha Kai earned a penalty kick, which Rosana stepped up and buried. The goal ignited some spark into the reigning champs but they were unable to find the back of the net for the equalizer.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia was able to find the back of the net twice more for a 4-1 victory on June 19.
Once again though, Sky Blue FC was able to bounce back, earning a 2-0 victory over the league leading FC Gold Pride on June 27, just one day before the All-Star Game starters would find out which team they’d be playing on.
Rosana scored her third goal in as many games to give the visitors an early lead and Tasha Kai added an insurance goal late in the game.
The All-Star game festivities kicked off on June 28, with Abby Wambach and Marta picking their teammates in a unique Pick ‘Em format. Starters Heather O’Reilly, Brittany Taylor and Karen Bardsley were selected by the two team captains while the rest of the Sky Blue contingent was assigned their teams by a coaches selection.
Heather O’Reilly, Laura Kalmari, and Tasha Kai suited up for Abby’s IX while Christie Rampone and Brittany Taylor suited up for Marta’s IX.
Goalkeeper Karen Bardsley was slated to start for Marta’s IX as well, but suffered a collar bone injury in training the day before the match. Bardsley was in good spirits on the bench during the game but was lost for the remainder of the season for Sky Blue FC.
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