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Houston bests Sky Blue FC, 3-2, with late game winner by Latsko

Sky Blue FC forward Katie Johnson scores a brace in the loss

Johnson Sky Blue FC
Katie Johnson’s brace wasn’t enough to prevent Sky Blue FC from falling, 3-2, to the visiting Houston Dash.
Tom Salus, Once a Metro

Sky Blue FC of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) returned to action on Saturday night, dropping a 3-2 contest to the Houston Dash at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey. The result marked the first victory for the Dash this season while Sky Blue FC is still in search of its first win of the 2018 campaign.

The Houston Dash struck first in the 24th minute to take an early 1-0 lead. The goal scoring sequence began with Kristie Mewis taking a corner kick from the right-hand side. The ball soared over the outstretched hands of Kailen Sheridan on the back post, and Lindsay Agnew back heeled the ball back into the front of the goalmouth to keep the play alive. Nichelle Prince then tapped the ball into the open net to score her first goal of 2018.

In the second half, Sky Blue FC converted the equalizer in the 57th minute of play. Carli Lloyd won possession in the midfield and played a long ball wide to Shea Groom. Groom took a touch around her defender to dribble down the right flank and crossed the ball through the box where Katie Johnson ran onto it and sent home her first goal of the year.

The Dash then took back the lead just two minutes later. Rachel Daly was awarded a free kick about 30 yards out from goal, and her initial kick was headed out of the box by the Sky Blue FC defense. The ball was then recycled back out wide to Daly on the right flank, and she crossed the ball towards goal. It looked as if Sheridan was going to come away with it, but she mishandled the cross and pushed the ball into the back of the net to give the Dash a 2-1 advantage.

Johnson once again equalized for her club in the 73rd minute off a set-piece play. Sky Blue FC earned a corner kick on the right-hand side and opted to play short. After a bit of one-touch possession working out of the corner, Sarah Killion played a one-time cross into the box and Johnson headed the ball towards the far post and into the net.

The Dash would take back the lead for the final time in the 79th minute after second-half substitutes Veronica Latsko and Thembi Kgatlana combined for the eventual game-winner. Kgatlana chased down a long pass on the right side of the field and played the ball across to a wide open Latsko on the far post for the 3-2 result. The goal marked Latsko’s first in her NWSL career.

Sky Blue FC’s next match will take place on Saturday, May 12 when the club travels to Seattle to take on the Reign. The New Jersey squad will return home on May 19 to host the North Carolina Courage for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Yurcak Field.

NWSL Match Report

Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash

Date: May 5, 2018

Venue: Yurcak Field; Piscataway, N.J.

Attendance: 2,065

Weather: 67 degrees, cloudy

Scoring Summary:

NJ: 0 | 2 - 2

HOU: 1 | 2 – 3

24 HOU Nichelle Prince (Lindsey Agnew)

57 NJ Katie Johnson (Shea Groom)

59 HOU Rachel Daly (Kealia Ohai)

73 NJ Katie Johnson (Sarah Killion)

79 Veronica Latsko (Thembi Kgatlana)

Lineups:

NJ: Sheridan, Freeman, Stott, Skroski, Gibbons (Hoy-85), Rodriguez (Groom-46), Killion, Lloyd, McCaskill, Beckie, Johnson (Tiernan-85)

Subs not used: Casey, Meehan, Moreno, Richardson

Head Coach: Denise Reddy

HOU: Campbell, Mewis, Daly, Van Wyk, Keever, Ohai (Kgatlana-76), Agnew (Latsko-71), Prince (Jordan-90), Hanson, Brooks, Simon

Subs Not Used: Henninger, Hahn, Jordan, Shim, Murphy

Head Coach: Vera Pauw

Stats Summary: NJ / HOU

Shots: 11 / 17

Saves: 3 / 1

Corner Kicks: 3 / 8

Fouls: 11 / 7

Offside: 2 / 4

Misconduct Summary:

64 NJ Savannah McCaskill (Yellow Card)

84 HOU Rachel Daly (Yellow Card)

Officials:

Referee: Christina Unkel

Assistant Referee 1: Trent Vanhaitsma

Assistant Referee 2: Luis Arroyo

Fourth Official: Amato DeLuca