Therese Sjogran (Photo by Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images)
Sky Blue FC headed to Boca Raton, Florida to take on magicJack on Wednesday night, in the first of two consecutive midweek contests between the two teams. Sky Blue FC and magicJack went into the match tied on points for the third spot on the Women's Professional Soccer table with less than a month remaining in the season. Ninety minutes later Sky Blue FC had the third spot all to itself care of a 2-0 win over the Florida side.
The win, Sky Blue's second straight, comes on the New Jersey team's first-ever visit to Florida Atlantic. Allie Long put the visitors up early and a magicJack own goal doubled the lead in the second half. The loss is magicJack's first at home this season and brings the teams winless streak to six games.
Jim Gabarra used the same lineup that topped Philadelphia 2-0 on Saturday for Wednesday night's match, pairing Eniola Aluko and Adriana up top and bringing Casey Nogueira off the bench to provide a second half spark. Jenni Branam made 13 saves to earn her league-leading fifth clean sheet of the season.
Allie Long gave Sky Blue FC the lead just 15 minutes in, receiving a ball from Heather O'Reilly and sending it past magicJack keeper Jillian Loyden. Therese Sjögran started the play after Sky Blue earned a corner kick. O'Reilly settled Sjögran's service to set up the shot for Long. The goal is Long's third of the season, but her first in the run of play - the other two were both scored on penalty kicks.
Sky Blue's lead was doubled in the 68th minute, again from a corner kick. This time however, it was a magicJack player that put the ball into the net. Casey Nogueira's service sailed across the goalmouth and magicJack's Abby Wambach deflected the ball past Loyden and into her own net as she tried to clear. Nogueira, who entered the match just six minutes earlier in place of Eniola Aluko, scored directly from a corner kick earlier this season.
The two goal lead was all Sky Blue FC needed as magicJack was unable to convert any of its chances. Wambach, in her second official game as magicJack player-coach, brought on forwards Lisa De Vanna and Christen Press in the second half to try and spark the home side's attack, but Branam was solid in net. Megan Rapinoe made her debut for the Florida team, coming in to start the second half, and Shannon Boxx returned to the magicJack lineup, going the full 90.
The two teams will meet again next Wednesday as Sky Blue travels back to Florida Atlantic to kick off a three game road trip to close out the regular season. Before that though, Sky Blue will return home to Yurcak Field one more time - taking on Marta, Christine Sinclair, Alex Morgan and the Western NY Flash in the home finale this Saturday.