Sky Blue FC (0-11-3, 3 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday, falling by a count of 3-1 to the Chicago Red Stars (6-4-7, 25 points) at Yurcak Field. The lone Sky Blue FC tally of the evening came off the foot of Imani Dorsey, who recorded her first professional goal one week after registering her first professional assist.
“We put ourselves in a difficult situation by allowing a goal late in the first half and then early in the second half,” said Denise Reddy, Sky Blue FC head coach. “As a team, we have to work more consistently throughout the game. We have to stay committed to our formation and how we play. That is what we will take away from tonight as we start building upon next week.”
Sky Blue FC nearly got itself on the board in the 7th minute of action, as Sarah Killion picked off a ball in the midfield and played Carli Lloyd. After pulling back through a pair of defenders, Lloyd sent a through-ball into the box that split two more defenders. There to receive her feed was Dorsey, but Chicago netminder Alyssa Naeher was able to make a save of her point-blank shot.
A couple of key defensive stops were made early in the opening half, first with Mandy Freeman chasing down Sam Kerr in the box to deny a shot in the 17thminute, and Kailen Sheridan then made a diving save of a Yuki Nagasato strike just four minutes later.
However, the Red Stars were eventually able to break through in the 40th minute. On the play, Naeher booted a ball for Alyssa Mautz on the right flank, who then found Kerr on top of the 18. After collecting the delivery, Kerr touched right before finishing to the left side of the goal, making it a 1-0 advantage in favor of the visiting side.
Kerr doubled the score for Chicago in the 46th minute following a giveaway in the midfield that was collected by Nagasato, who then delivered a feed to Kerr as she approached the penalty area. After chesting the ball down, Kerr powered a right-footed strike into the goal that gave her team a 2-0 edge.
In the 63rd minute, Nagasato sent a ball over the top from the midfield that found Kerr running into a 1v1 situation with Sheridan. Kerr was able to slot that feed into the left-side netting, which placed a 3-0 tally on the scoreboard.
Sky Blue FC was able to pull one back in the 73rd minute of this contest. The sequence started in the back when Domi Richardson played Madison Tiernan, who then turned upfield before cutting two defenders with a pass for Savannah McCaskill. After a quick give-and-go between her and Lloyd, McCaskill one-timed a feed that split a pair of defenders and found Dorsey as she entered the penalty area. Dorsey then poked a right-footed shot past Naeher for her first professional goal, hanging a final count of 3-1 in favor of the Red Stars.
Sky Blue FC returns to Yurcak Field next Saturday, July 14, to host the North Carolina Courage for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Tickets for that match are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
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