Action in the Sky Blue FC loss to the Portland Timbers. (photo by Jeffrey Auger)
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Sky Blue FC had its a three-game home winning streak snapped by Portland Thorns FC, which recorded a 2-0 National Women’s Soccer League win at Yurcak Field Saturday night.
Lindsay Horan tallied twice to lead the Portland (4-1-3, 15 points) offense, while Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch made six saves to counter a determined Sky Blue FC (4-4-1, 13) attack before a crowd of 2,418.
“This is definitely not the result we wanted at home, but there are a tremendous amount of positive takeaways from this match,” Sky Blue FC head coach Christy Holl said. “We created our fair share of opportunities, and our ability to learn and evolve as the game progresses is definitely something that is very exciting. We will analyze this performance and make the necessary adjustments to ensure we are better when we head to Portland in two weeks.”
Making her second consecutive start was Sky Blue FC’s Madison Tiernan, who put forth a solid end-to-end performance to earn woman of the match honors.
Portland opened the scoring after making good on a free kick opportunity after defender Kayla Mills was shown a yellow card in the 20th minute. On the ensuing free kick, forward Nadia Nadim sent the ball towards the far post as Horan redirected a header.
In the 34th minute, Sky Blue FC nearly found the equalizer. Tiernan dispossessed Meghan Klingenberg in the midfield and played a ball down the right flank for Sam Kerr. The Australia international firrf a shot that was just wide of the left post.
The Thorns stretched their advantage to 2-0 in the 42nd minute, beginning on a Nadim ball that was played to Klingenberg on the left side of the penalty area. Klingenberg sent a hard roller to the front of the goal, where Horan was again the beneficiary yo put it away.
Sky Blue FC went on the attack at the start of the second half, creating chance in the 49th minute after Tiernan gained possession and began running towards the penalty area. As defenders began to collapse on her, Tiernan played Kelley O’Hara on her right. O’Hara turned towards the goal and fired a shot from a difficult angle that goalkeeper Adrianna Franch deflected with a kick save.
In the 57th minute, Sky Blue FC had another quality opportunity after Raquel Rodriguez was taken down inside the box by Mallory Weber. Midfielder Sarah Killion took the penalty, but Franch stopped her for the first time from the spot this season after making a diving save to her left.
Sky Blue FC played a nice give-and-go sequence in the 69th minute that started off a run by second-half substitute McKenzie Meehan. The 2017 NWSL College Draft selection played Kerr on her left, who quickly returned the favor as she finished a run towards goal. Meehan went high on the feed by Kerr to send a header on frame, but Franch again found herself in the perfect position to turn away the shot.
The NWSL will take its first international break of the season next weekend. Sky Blue FC will travel to Portland Saturday, June 17. The team will not return to New Jersey until Wednesday, June 28, hosting the Orlando Pride at 7 p.m.
POR — Lindsay Horan (Nadia Nadim) — 20′
POR — Lindsay Horan (Meghan Klingenberg) — 42′
NJ: Sheridan, Mills (Corboz-80), Freeman, Pearce, Tiernan (Galton-67), Killion, Rodriguez, O’Hara, Lytle, Hayes (Meehan-60), Kerr
Subs not used: Casey, Richardson, DeCesare, Stanton
Head Coach: Christy Holly
POR: Franch, Boureille, Sonnett, Menges, Klingenberg, Henry, Long (Cox), Nadim, Horan, Weber (Brynjarsdottir-66), Sinclair (Johnson-88)
Subs Not Used: Eckerstrom, Raso
Head Coach: Mark Parsons
Stats Summary: NJ / POR
Shots: 13 / 8
Saves: 2 / 6
Corner Kicks: 8 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 8
Offside: 2 / 2
19 NJ Kayla Mills (Yellow Card)
59 POR Lindsay Horan (Yellow Card)
77 POR Meghan Cox (Yellow Card)
89 NJ Kelley O’Hara (Yellow Card)
Referee: Marco Vega
Assistant Referee 1: Amanda Ross
Assistant Referee 2: Tom Felice
Fourth Official: Lorant Varga
Woman of the Match: Madison Tiernan