Raquel Rodriguez stunned Portland by scoring 25 seconds into the match. (Andy Mead/YCJ Photo)
PORTLAND, Ore. — Raquel Rodriguez tied a National Women’s Soccer League record by scoring 25 seconds into the game while Sam Kerr added two goals to spark Sky Blue FC to a 3-1 win at Portland Thorns FC at Providence Park Saturday night.
Sky Blue FC (5-4-1, 16 points) ended Portland’s six-game unbeaten streak, as well as halting an eight-match regular season home unbeaten streak before of a crowd of 16,736.
“We are delighted with the result and exceptionally proud of every single player within this roster,” Sky Blue head coach Christy Holly said. “Everybody came together and pushed one another to fight it out to the very end. We know that there are better performances in us, but this is a fantastic stepping stone towards the huge goals that we have for ourselves.”
Sky Blue FC wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard, opening its account 25 seconds after kickoff. The visitors immediately went on the attack, with Kerr gathering a rebound inside the area before she played a hard roller towards Rodriguez. The Costa Rica international fired a shot past goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.
In the 32nd minute, Sky Blue FC earned a penalty kick when England international Leah Galton raced into the box, where she was taken down by midfielder Celeste Boureille. Midfielder Sarah Killion sent Franch right but struck her attempt just wide of the left post.
Sky Blue FC extended its lead to 2-0 on a brilliant display by Kerr in the 70th minute. U.S. international Kelley O’Hara cleared a ball that found the head of Maya Hayes at midfield. Hayes played the ball forward to Kerr, who raced into a 1 v 1 situation with Franch. The Australia international touched around Franch before striking away a shot that made it 2-0.
In the 88th minute, Sky Blue FC stretched its lead to three goals as Madison Tiernan sent a ball towards her final third, causing Franch to come off her line. Kerr made Franch pay for that decision, flicking the ball past her before slicing it into the open net.
Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, who recorded six saves, found herself only 20 seconds short of a clean slate before a penalty kick was awarded in the fifth minute of stoppage time. Her Canadian international teammate Christine Sinclair took the attempt as Sheridan proceeded to made a diving save. The rebound fell at the feet of Sinclair, who put it away.
Next up for third-place Sky Blue FC is a critical road pairing with the second-place Chicago Red Stars Sunday at 6 p.m. The New Jersey team will return home to Yurcak Field to host the Orlando Pride Wednesday, June 28 at 7 p.m.
1′ — NJ – Raquel Rodriguez (Sam Kerr)
70′- — NJ – Sam Kerr (Maya Hayes)
88′ — NJ – Sam Kerr (Madison Tiernan)
90’+5 –POR – Christine Sinclair
NJ: Sheridan, O’Hara, Freeman, Pearce, Mills, Killion, Lytle (Stanton-78), Rodriguez, Galton (Hayes-68), Kerr, Meehan (Tiernan-61)
Subs not used: Casey, Richardson, DeCesare, Corboz
Head Coach: Christy Holly
POR: Franch, Boureille, Sonnett, Menges, Klingenberg, Henry, Long, Weber (Sykes-62), Horan, Raso, SInclair
Subs Not Used: Eckerstrom, Cox, Johnson, Shim, Brynjarsdottir
Head Coach: Mark Parsons
62′ – Sykes for Weber
Stats Summary: POR / NJ
Shots: 15 / 14
Saves: 4 / 6
Corner Kicks: 6 / 7
Fouls: 15 / 16
Offside: 3 / 1
74 NJ Kelley O’Hara (Yellow Card)
90 NJ Nikki Stanton (Yellow Card)
90+1 POR Amandine Henry (Yellow Card)
Referee: Timothy Ford
Assistant Referee 1: Deleana Quan
Assistant Referee 2: JJ Blodgett
Fourth Official: Cephas Quartson
Woman of the Match: Sam Kerr