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Sky Blue woes continue with 2-1 loss to Portland Thorns FC

Winless streak reaches 10 as Portland scores twice in last 20 mintutes.

Sky Blue Photo/Robyn McNeil

The misery continued for the Sky Blue FC on the West Coast Friday night.

Sky Blue took a 1-0 lead into the second half but watched it all crumble in the last 21 minutes, falling to the Portland Thorns FC, 2-1.

The loss extended Sky Blue FC's winless streak to 10 games and kept the New Jersey team at the bottom of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) table. Sky Blue FC dropped to 1-5-4 for seven points and has now scored only goal a game for the 10th straight game.

Portland snapped their franchise high winless streak of seven matches and moved closer into contention for a playoff spot. The Thorns FC are now 3-3-4 for 13 points. Portland also broke another streak by scoring more than one goal for the first time since May 9.

Things fell apart for the Sky Blue in the 69th minute when Genovevea Ayo was taken down in the box by Sky Blue FC defender Cami Levin. The ball was momentarily alive and Kendall Johnson put the ball in the net but the center official called for a penalty. After consulting with the assistant referee, Levin was given a red card.

Allie Long made no mistake by sending Brittany Cameron the wrong way on the penalty to bring Portland level.

Nine minutes later, Alyssa Kleiner, who was on the Portland reserve squad when the season began and was starting her first match, ran with the ball down the left flank and drilled a hard serve that travelled about 50 yards. Sinead Farrelly ran onto the serve and drove it back against the goal to put Portland ahead.

Sky Blue FC to its credit did not fold playing a player down and actually nearly tied the match in the final seconds. With seven minutes of extra time added, Sky Blue had a golden chance when a foul in the closing minute gave them a free kick just outside the box. Katy Freels, who scored the only goal for Sky Blue, drilled the free kick, forcing Michelle Betos to tip the shot over the bar as time ran out.

The match had a familiar feel as the Sky Blue put together a respectable first half but could only score one time. Freels scored her team-high fourth goal in the 27th minute. Midfielder Taylor Lytle, who had a strong outing, split 3 defenders off the dribble and sent in Freels, who has playing an advanced midfield spot. Freels went in on Betos  1 v 1 with a quality touch and then chipped the goalkeeper. The goal was Freels' team-leading fourth of the year and broke a 286 minute scoreless streak that covered parts of four games.

Sky Blue was in control for most of the half, but Portland began applying pressure in the final minutes. Cameron was called into action by punching a pair of long serves from Mana Shim.

In the second half, Portland started controlling the action by playing the ball wide to Johnson, Kleiner and Farrelly who began making dangerous serves in to the box. Cameron was stellar, coming out to stop Ayo three times before the Thorn striker could pull the trigger on the shot.

Extra Time: The match was delayed 20 minutes because of excessive heat in Portland. There were "cooling off breaks" in each half. That led to seven minutes of extra time.... Caitlin Foord played all 90 minutes in her 2015 Sky Blue FC debut that included a yellow card.....Nikki Slaton started her first match of the season....Sarah Killion played the final 15 minutes after missing several matches with an injury.... Both teams will meet in New Jersey next Sunday. All the World Cup players for both teams are expected to be back.