Sky Blue FC (0-11-3, 3 points) returned to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday night, dropping a 3-1 result to the Chicago Red Stars (6-4-7, 25 points) at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ. The lone Sky Blue FC tally came from Imani Dorsey, who recorded her first NWSL goal just one week after registering her first professional assist.
Both Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan and Chicago Red Stars netminder Alyssa Naeher made some big saves early on in the match to keep it scoreless. However, the Red Stars finally broke the stalemate in the 40th minute of action.
The scoring sequence began with a pass back to Naeher, who then played a long ball down the right flank for Alyssa Mautz to run on to. Mautz took a touch to settle, then played a cross to the top of the box to find Sam Kerr. Kerr’s first touch was back towards the right side to create separation, followed by a shot across her body that deflected slightly off of a pressuring Sarah Killion and beat Sheridan in the lower left corner for the 1-0 advantage.
Sky Blue FC had a chance in the final minute of the half to equalize when Carli Lloyd played a long ball up the right flank for Savannah McCaskill to get in behind the back line. McCaskill then played a ball across the box into the path of Dorsey on the far post. Dorsey’s one-time shot was denied by Naeher, and McCaskill could not take advantage of the rebound as Casey Short blocked the attempted cross back.
Kerr doubled Chicago’s lead in the 46th minute following a giveaway in the midfield that was collected by Yuki Nagasato, who then delivered a feed to Kerr as she approached the penalty area. After chesting the ball down, Kerr powered a right-footed shot into the opposite left corner to give her team a 2-0 edge. The goal marked Kerr’s 50th in the NWSL - the first player to reach that milestone in league history.
Kerr completed her hat trick in the 63rd minute after receiving another feed from Nagasato over the top that set Kerr up for a 1-on-1 situation with Sheridan. The Australia international slotted her shot towards the left corner of the net for the third time to give the Red Stars a 3-0 lead.
Sky Blue FC was able to strike back in the 73rd minute to get on the score sheet. The sequence started with Madison Tiernan playing a ball upfield to McCaskill. After a quick give-and-go between her and Lloyd, McCaskill one-timed a feed that split a pair of defenders and found Dorsey as she entered the penalty area on the left side. Dorsey then redirected the ball with the outside of her right foot past Naeher for her first professional goal, hanging a final count of 3-1 in favor of the Red Stars.
The New Jersey club returns to Yurcak Field next Saturday, July 14, to host the North Carolina Courage for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Chicago Red Stars
Date: July 7, 2018
Venue: Yurcak Field; Piscataway, New Jersey
Weather: 78 degrees, sunny
NJ: 0 | 1 - 1
CHI: 1 | 2 – 3
40 CHI Sam Kerr (Alyssa Mautz)
46 CHI Sam Kerr (Yuki Nagasato)
63 CHI Sam Kerr (Yuki Nagasato)
73 NJ Imani Dorsey (Savannah McCaskill)
NJ: Sheridan, Tiernan (Meehan-75), Richardson, Freeman, Skroski, Dorsey (Johnson-89), Beckie, Killion, McCaskill, Lloyd, Groom
Subs not used: Casey, Thaisa, Gibbons, Abam, Frisbie
Head Coach: Denise Reddy
CHI: Naeher, Short, Ertz, Naughton, Gilliland, Stanton, Colaprico (Brian-83), Nagasato (White-86), Vasconcelos (DiBernardo-75), Mautz, Kerr
Subs Not Used: Elby, Boyd, Gorden, Green
Head Coach: Rory Dames
Stats Summary: NJ / CHI
Shots: 9 / 17
Saves: 7 / 4
Corner Kicks: 6 / 5
Fouls: 10 / 9
Offside: 1 / 2
Referee: Jasmine Perlata
Assistant Referee 1: Brooke Mayo
Assistant Referee 2: Ryan Graves