Kelley O’Hara scored one goal and set up another for Sky Blue FC (Jose Argueta, ISI Photos, courtesy of Sky Blue FC)
BOYDS, Md. – Sky Blue FC more than doubled its goal production Saturday night, but little good did that do the team as the Jersey side suffered a 4-3 road loss.
The Washington Spirit recorded its first win of the National Women’s Soccer League season at the Maryland SoccerPlex as both teams finished the team with 1-2-1 marks and four points apiece.
Midfielder Sarah Killion scored two goals while forward Kelley O’Hara registered a goal and an assist as the visitors raised their goal production from two to five goals.
“We are extremely disappointed to come away from a game with a loss after scoring three goals,” Sky Blue FC head coach Christy Holly said. “We had too many lapses in concentration defensively, and we paid for it. Despite the outcome, we will look to focus on the positives that we can take away from tonight. Going forward, we will have great confidence in knowing we can cause problems for any team we play.”
Sky Blue FC created some good chances in the opening minute, but it was Washington that struck first on the counterattack. In the sixth minute, Spirit midfielder Line Sigvardsen Jensen fed a ball to forward Francisca Ordega inside the penalty area. Ordega slotted a shot under goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan for a 1-0 Spirit lead.
The visitors soon leveled the count as Australia international Sam Kerr ran down a ball on the left flank before turning to play midfielder Taylor Lytle on the left corner of the 18-yard box. Lytle fired a shot that keeper Stephanie Labbe deflected away, but O’Hara collected and fired a top-shelf strike that equalized at 1-1.
The see-saw battle swung back in favor of the Spirit in the 25th minute, as midfielder Tori Huster played Ordega into the box. Ordega slipped a shot past Sheridan as where defender Erin Simon saw her clearance attempt redirect the ball into the net for an own goal for a 2-1 Washington lead.
The Spirit stretched its lead to 3-1 in the 34th minute, with Ordega again playing a major role. After collecting a ball inside the center circle, Ordega turned and played a through ball that split two defenders and found midfielder Havana Solaun in a wide-open area with only Sheridan to beat. The Canada international came off her line in an attempt to close the gap, but Solaun put away the opportunity.
After a couple of near scores at the start of the second half, Sky Blue FC found the back of the net in the 50th minute. Lytle sped through the midfield before finding O’Hara inside the area. O’Hara slipped a through-ball to Killion on the far post, and the Sky Blue FC midfielder slotted the feed under Labbe to tighten the deficit to 3-2.
In the 56th minute, the scoreline was again stretched to a pair of goals. Solaun played Ordega into space as the latter touched around Sheridan before tapping the ball into the net, making the tally 4-2 in favor of the hosts.
“We made a commitment to being more balanced and aggressive in our attack, and we were much better in transition,” Spirit head coach Jim Gabarra said. “It was big for us to get a win at home in front of our fans.”
Sky Blue FC remained on the attack and eventually earned a penalty-kick attempt when second-half substitute McKenzie Meehan was taken down inside the box in the 70th minute. Stepping over the ensuing try was Killion, who drilled a hard strike into the left-side netting for her second goal of the night, making it 4-3.
Sky Blue FC will next play the Houston Dash in back-to-back telecasts of the NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week. The team will travel to Houston next Saturday for a 4 p.m. kickoff with before returning to Yurcak Field Saturday, May 20, to host that same Houston side for a 4 p.m. meeting.
6 — WAS — Francisca Ordega (Line Sigvardsen Jensen)
12 — NJ — Kelley O’Hara
25 — WAS — (NJ Own Goal)
34 — WAS — Hovana Salaun (Francisca Ordega)
50 — NJ — Sarah Killion (Kelley O’Hara)
56 — WAS — Francisca Ordega (Hovana Salaun)
NJ: Sheridan, Simon, Skroski, Freeman, Mills, Galton (Hayes-86), Stanton (Tiernan, 62), Killion, Lytle (Meehan, 69), Kerr, O’Hara
Subs not used: Casey, DeCesare, Richardson
Head Coach: Christy Holly
WAS: Labbe, Zadorsky, Church, Johnson, Kallman, Jensen (Williams-79), Howard, Huster, Solaun, Ordega (Agnew, 90), Ship (Castleberry, 65)
Subs Not Used: Thomas, Haracic, Kleiner
Head Coach: Jim Gabarra
Stats Summary: NJ / WAS:
Shots: 16 / 8
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 5 / 8
Fouls: 8 / 10
Offside: 0 / 6
39 – NJ — Erin Simon (Yellow Card)
87 — WAS — Cheyna Williams (Yellow Card)
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Adrienne McDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Brooke Mayo
Fourth Official: Ali Saheli
Woman of the Match: Kelley O’Hara