This may be rock bottom for Sky Blue FC. Giving up two goals in the first half – one in the sixth minutes – the Sky Blue fell to the once-again first place Chicago Red Stars, 3-0, at Yurcak Field on the Rutgers University campus.
Chicago got goals from three different performers as both teams played the first official match coming out of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) break for the Women’s World Cup.
The loss left Sky Blue FC at the bottom of the NWSL table with a 1-5-4 record (7 points) and now has a nine-game winless streak. Chicago is now 5-1-3 (18 points) and back at the top of the table.
Sky Blue FC’s defense – a strong point for most of the season –were left flat-footed early and the offense is still looking to get untracked – despite some near misses that rang off the crossbar in both halves.
It was Chicago’s game from the opening whistle as Sophia Huerta and Jen Hoy did a great job of breaking down the Sky Blue defense early and often. Huerta zoomed down the left wing in the sixth minutes, turning around Maya Hayes, and slotted a pass to Vanessa DiBernardo who was wide open eight yards out. She made no mistake with a shot to the right post.
The Red Stars kept the pressure up, scoring again in the 34th minute. Huerta again started things with some clever dribbling into the penalty area before playing a ball to Hoy on her right, who had an easy time putting the ball past Brittany Cameron.
Sky Blue had few opportunities to pressure Chicago but when they did, it came very close. Katy Freels hit the crossbar from about 20 yards and Taylor Lyttle pushed a shot wide in the first half. Nadia Nadim, who was pushed deeper into her own half by the Red Stars’ pressure, had two shots in the second half that were dangerous – one was save by Chicago goalkeeper Michele Dalton in a one-on-one situation in the 50th minute and another was a bicycle kick off a Freels corner in the second-half stoppage time.
The Red Stars iced the game with a goal in the 62nd minute. Again it was Hoy who was involved, beat three defenders in the penalty area and sending a short pass to Alyssa Mautz for the goal.
Extra Time…. Sky Blue visits Portland Friday night…Sky Blue’s Shane Pratt made her professional debut in the 70th minute, replacing Hayes.. CoCo Goodson, who returning Sky Blue FC after retiring in the off-season, came on as a striker for the final 15 minutes…. Chicago’s Danielle Colaprico is a native New Jerseyan, having played in Freehold…..Hoy played her college soccer at Princeton…DiBernardo’s father Angelo played for the NY Cosmos in the 1980s.