Sky Blue FC (0-6-1, 1 point) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Wednesday night, suffering a 1-0 road defeat to the Washington Spirit (2-5-2, 8 points) at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
“Obviously, this was an unfortunate result for us,” said Denise Reddy, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We probably should have been up one or two goals during the first half, and we got a bit pressed in the second half. In order to get at least a point on the road, we have to have to capitalize on our chances, and we cannot allow ourselves to give up a goal on a set piece.”
In the 27th minute, Sky Blue FC nearly got itself on the board following a sequence that started with a Carli Lloyd through-ball to Katie Johnson on the left flank. She then turned and played Janine Beckie, who touched inside before blasting a shot from outside the 18 that was headed for the right upper 90. Unfortunately for the visiting side, Spirit netminder Aubrey Bledsoe was able to punch it away for a corner kick.
On the ensuing corner, Amanda Frisbie delivered a ball that found the head of Lloyd in the center of the box. The redirection was on its way towards the goal, but Bledsoe was there to gather.
Sky Blue FC was again on the attack in the 36th minute following a slide tackle by Johnson that dispossessed a Spirit defender. The ball rolled to the feet of Raquel Rodriguez, with Beckie immediately making a sharp run towards the target. Rodriguez then fed a pass to Beckie, who cut right before hammering a shot towards the far post that appeared destined for the back of the net. However, Bledsoe was again there to turn away the shot and keep the match scoreless.
The deadlock in this contest was finally broken in the 64th minute. After Washington earned a free kick opportunity from roughly 35 yards out, Andi Sullivan lofted a ball towards the far side of the penalty area. Positioning herself under the feed was Hatch, who tucked a header inside the left post to hang the lone tally of the evening.
Down a goal, Sky Blue FC battled for the equalizer over the rest of the game, but the 1-0 count remained when the final whistle was blown.
Next up, Sky Blue FC will host Seattle Reign FC for a 7 p.m. kickoff this Saturday at Yurcak Field, presented by Coach USA. Tickets for that match are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).