Sky Blue FC came out strong in the first half of the season opener, but the Spirit were able to pull ahead 2-0 in the second half of Saturday night’s match up.
Sky Blue FC (0-1-0) had their first big chance on goal in the 11th minute as Midfielder Nahomi Kawasumi carried the ball up the sideline and crossed it over to Carli Lloyd, whose header pinged off the crossbar.
More chances to get on the board came for Sky Blue in the first half, as Domi Richardson sent in a corner kick that bounced around in the box before being cleared off the line in the 31st minute.
Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan came up big in the start of the second half as she denied Cheyna Matthews in the 47th minute. The play started as Washington midfielder Jordan DiBiasi took an initial shot that was blocked, and Matthews put the rebound at the hands of a diving Sheridan.
Washington found themselves up 1-0 after a corner kick that wasn’t cleared out of the box in the 59th minute. Washington Rookie Samantha Staab was in the right place as the ball dropped to her feet and she sent the shot to the back of the net.
Rookies Julie James and Paige Monaghan made their professional debuts for Sky Blue FC. James put in a strong shift in the midfield and was subbed out by Monaghan in the 67th minute. Monaghan almost made an instant impact as she was slipped a ball in the box but Bledsoe ran out to deny her shot.
Washington snuck in a late goal as extra time was coming to an end. Mallory Pugh found the head of Meegan Crosson making a run in the middle to put the Spirit up 2-0.
Sky Blue FC returns home on Saturday, April 20, (6 p.m. ET) to face the Houston Dash. Tickets to all Sky Blue FC home games can be purchased by calling 888-SBFC-TIX or by visiting www.skybluefc.com.
Notes: Julie James starts in her first professional match … Paige Monaghan makes her professional debut …