NWSL: Sky Blue FC seals back-to-back wins
NWSL Sky Blue FC seals back-to-back wins. The club defeated Boston Breakers 3-2 and is now five points back of the final NWSL playoff place.
Coming into the National Women’s Soccer League weekend fixture, Boston had gone a month without a home match, with all four fixtures resulting in losses. The return to familiar confines did little to help. However, the Breakers did get off to a quick start that gave fans a feeling of optimism.
In the third minute Stephanie McCaffrey sent a teasing cross to the edge of the six-yard box. The cross deflected off a Sky Blue defender and fell to Eunice Beckman. Her initial shot was saved and the follow up blocked. Angela Salem was able to volley hope the blocked shot, giving the Breakers a shock 1-0 lead.
Things changed in the 27th minute, however, when Leah Galton was taken down by Christen Westphal’s poorly timed tackle in the penalty area. Sarah Killion converted the subsequent penalty, knotting the fixture at one. Galton then added to the Sky Blue’s lead ten minutes later heading Tasha Kai’s pinpoint cross into the back of the net after she had lost her defender.
Once again, Boston’s atrocious defending led to Sky Blue’s third goal of the game. Sky Blue played a short corner with Taylor Lytle looping in a cross to the back post. Kristin Grubka headed the ball back across goal to Erica Skroski, who nodded it into the Breakers’ goal.
Boston did pull a goal back in the 86th minute when Julie King headed home a Louise Schillgard free-kick. However, Sky Blue held on for all three points.
In the shock result of the weekend, Portland Thorns lost for the second straight week, this time to Houston Dash 3-0. Houston opened the scoring in the seventh minute when Kealia Ohai sent a low cross into Portland’s 18-yard box. Rachel Daly slotted home the pass to make it 1-0.
Amber Brooks got Houston’s second after a deflected cross from Becca Moros found her free at the back post to tap in. The Dash rounded out the scoring in the 83rd minute when Ohai dribbled around a tired Portland defense before slotting past Portland goalkeeper Michelle Betos to make the score 3-0.
Washington Spirit benefited from the Thorns loss as the ladies are now level on 26 points atop the NWSL after defeating FC Kansas City 3-2. Estefania Banini opened the scoring on the verge of halftime as the Argentine shot past Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart. Joanna Lohman added a second just after halftime, before Kansas City struck back. Frances Silva headed home an Erika Tymrak corner to give Kansas City hope of a draw.
However, Banini made it 3-1 when she tallied her fourth goal of the season in the 83rd minute. Kansas City was able to get another goal back in second half stoppage-time from Shea Groom.
One week after the pitch debacle that garnered most of the NWSL’s headlines around the world, Western New York Flash played Seattle Reign, this time in Seattle. Like the previous week, not much could separate the two sides. Seattle’s Manon Melis opened the scoring in the third minute, but the Flash’s Jessica McDonald equalized in the 45th. Neither team could find the breakthrough in the second period. The draw leaves Western New York one point behind Washington and Portland in the NWSL table.
Chicago Red Stars returned to winning ways, ending a three match losing streak with a 1-0 win over Orlando Pride. Chicago struck in the 23rd minute when Taylor Comeau headed in Sofia Huerta’s cross. The win keeps Chicago in the NWSL playoff places, three points ahead of Orlando.
As with all NWSL games, fans can watch all the matches in full on YouTube.
Follow Drew Farmer on Twitter @DrewMFarmer. Check out his latest book, Soccer Travels, in paperback and on Kindle at Amazon.com.