Defender Mandy Freeman made her professional debut in the match (Photo by Jane Gershovich, ISI Photos).
SEATTLE – Sky Blue FC came back from a one-goal deficit in the second half to register a 1-1 draw with Seattle Reign FC in the National Women’s Soccer League season opener for both teams at Memorial Stadium Saturday night.
Midfielder Sarah Killion converted a penalty kick in the 62nd minute for the New Jersey side, six minutes after the hosts put in a penalty.
In her NWSL debut, Canada international goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan registered four saves. Playing in front of her were two more rookies — Kayla Mills and Mandy Freeman — and second-year player Erica Skroski, with the captain Christie Pearce anchoring the defensive front. For her performance and leadership, Pearce was named Woman of the Match.
“We are definitely satisfied with the way we started the season,” Sky Blue FC head coach Christy Holly said. “The quality of play was very pleasing, and it is something that really excites us moving forward. At the same time, we know that today was just the first step in what will be a season-long journey for this group of extremely talented and dedicated players.”
In the 56th minute, Seattle was awarded a penalty kick after U.S. international midfielder Megan Rapinoe was tripped inside the box. Rapinoe placed her ensuing penalty attempt into the right-side netting.
Sky Blue FC retaliated in the 62nd minute after Kelley O’Hara was taken down inside the penalty while trying to receive a Sam Kerr cross. Killion slotted her attempt under keeper Haley Kopmeyer to even the count at 1-1.
Kopmeyer made six saves.
Sky Blue FC will head to Boston next weekend to face the Breakers Sunday at 6 p.m. The team will play its home opener when it hosts FC Kansas City at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J. Sunday, April 30 at 6 p.m.