In a dreary, wet and damp March afternoon, Sky Blue FC gave a solid effort in the second half to score three times in a 3-0 victory over St. John's University in National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) preseason action at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School.
With six players missing due to various national team duties and striker Nadia Nadim not in camp yet, it was a day for third-year midfielder Katy Freels and first-round draft choice Sarah Killion to step up.
"We are still evaluating players and looking at some players in different positions, while also trying to establish a fitness base, said Jim Gabarra, Sky Blue FC technical director and head coach, before the match. "We will only have to two outdoor sessions under our belts before the game, so that makes it a challenge for our players to adjust and learn how to play together. In some cases, players will play in positions where they are not necessarily comfortable, but that is all part of the evaluation process."
Freels had a goal and an assist on the day while Killion scored her first goal as professional.
After a scoreless first half, Freels opened the scoring with a penalty kick five minutes into the second half. Maya Hayes was brought down in area and Sky Blue was awarded the penalty.
Six minutes later, Freels stripped a St. John's defender and fed Killion, who made no mistake in scoring first goal in a Sky Blue FC jersey.
In the 70th minute, outside back Theresa Diederich, one of the walk-on players, slotted a long ball to Maya Hayes who scored the final goal.
Brittany Cameron played the first half in goal and Aubrey Bledsoe was in net for the final 45 minutes.
Sky Blue FC plays their second pre-season match on March 21 against the University of North Carolina in a 3 p.m. start at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online.