Eniola Aluko (Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos)
Sky Blue FC striker Eniola Aluko finally broke out of her scoring slump on Wednesday night, but it wasn't enough for the New Jersey side to top magicJack. Playing at magicJack's home field at Florida Atlantic University for the second time in as many weeks, Sky Blue FC needed a win to remain in the third spot on the table. Despite coming from behind twice, Sky Blue was ultimately unable to hold off the magicJack attack, giving up the game winner with just four minutes to play. The loss puts magicJack in third, three points ahead of Sky Blue, who now occupy the fourth and final playoff spot.
Despite all the off-field crazy currently swirling around magicJack, the Florida team was able to come up with a 3-2 win over visiting Sky Blue FC. Abby Wambach netted a brace and Megan Rapinoe added the third for the home side. Aluko, who came in as a second half sub, scored both of Sky Blue's goals - her first (and second) since May 28th. It was the second straight win for magicJack and second straight loss for Sky Blue.
MagicJack player/coach Abby Wambach opened the scoring for the home side just five minutes in, receiving a ball from Marian Dalmy and beating the Sky Blue defense before firing a shot past Karen Bardsley. It was just the third appearance - and first since returning from the World Cup where she played all four games for England - for Bardsley. Jenni Branam had the night off after giving up four goals against Western NY last weekend. The loss drops Bardsley to 0-3 on the season. MagicJack would take the 1-0 lead into halftime.
Aluko replaced Laura Kalmari to start the second frame and immediately had an impact. The England striker got on the end of a ball from Heather O'Reilly and was able to speed past her defender and send a shot past magicJack keeper Jillian Loyden for the equalizer. The 56th minute goal was Aluko's second of the season. Things would remain even for nearly 20 minutes before Wambach found the back of the net for the second time, sending a ball over Bardsley's head in the the 77th minute to give magicJack the lead once again. Sophie Schmidt had the assist on Wambach's second goal.
MagicJack's second lead lasted just seven minutes before Aluko pulled Sky Blue even once again. Collecting a pass from Adriana, Aluko beat Loyden to bring things level at two in the 84th. Things didn't stay that way for long though, as Rapinoe netted the game-winner two minutes later. The 86th minute tally was Rapinoe's second goal of the season and first as a member of magicJack. Rapinoe's only other goal this season came when she was a member of the Independence, netting Philadelphia's lone goal in a 2-1 loss to Western NY on May 29th.
MagicJack now sits in third place, three points ahead of Sky Blue FC and with a game in hand. Sky Blue now has just two matches remaining, this Sunday in Philadelphia and next Sunday's season finale in Boston. The Breakers did do Sky Blue a favor on Wednesday night, losing 2-1 to Western NY. The loss keeps the Breakers in fifth, three points behind Sky Blue.