Sam Kerr is in the midst of her bicycle kick, which gave Sky Blue FC a 2-1 lead. (Jeffrey Auger Photo)
Piscataway, N.J. – Sky Blue FC could not hold a second-half lead and suffered the consequences at home.
The Orlando Pride overcame a deficit and recorded a 3-2 National Women’s Soccer League win over the New Jersey side at Yurcak Field Wednesday night.
Brazilian superstar Marta and Rachel Hill tallied late goals, in the 77th and 86th minutes, to turn the game around for Orlando (4-4-3, 15 points) as Sky Blue (5-6-1, 16) fell below .500.
“It is unacceptable for us to continue performing at such an inconsistent level,” Sky Blue FC head coach Christy Holly. “We know that we can do better. The positive that we will take away from this is knowing everything that went wrong in our performance is something we can control. We can rectify that, and we take accountability for what happened here tonight.”
Orlando opened the scoring in the 11th minute, as midfielder Kristen Edmonds played forward Chioma Ubogagu on the right flank. Ubogagu touched around a defender into a straight pathway to the goal, striking the ball into the far-side netting before goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan had the opportunity to react.
Sky Blue FC created a chance in 19th minute. Sam Kerr spotted midfielder Daphne Corboz on a run into the left corner of the 18-yard box, where she was fed a hard roller. Corboz was tackled for a penalty kick. Midfielder Sarah Killion struck a shot to her right that was saved by a diving goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe.
Kerr’s work rate paid off in the 45th minute. After being played a through-ball by Taylor Lytle, Kerr raced into the area before being taken down for a second Sky Blue FC penalty try. U.S. international Kelley O’Hara drove a hard shot into the upper left-netting to level the game at 1-1.
A minute into the second half, Kerr put away an incredible bicycle kick goal. Corboz and Kerr did a quick one-two before Corboz sent the ball down the left flank for a speeding Maya Hayes. The New Jersey native ran towards the end line near the left post, eventually centering a volley where Kerr was awaiting. As the ball began to arrive, the Australia international set her feet before firing a well-driven bicycle kick past Bledsoe for a 2-1 edge.
The Pride rallied late.
In the 77th minute, Orlando leveled the amtch when defender Steph Catley centered a feed that deflected right to the feet of Marta, and the Brazilian striker one-timed the loose ball into the goal with her left foot.
In the 86th minute, the Pride reclaimed the lead. Catley sent a ball from the left flank across the mouth of the frame to Hill, who headed home the game-winning goal.
Sky Blue FC will head south to play the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week Saturday. The team will return home to Yurcak Field on Saturday, July 8, hosting the Orlando Pride for a 7 p.m. kickoff.
11 ORL Chioma Ubogagu
45 NJ Kelley O’Hara (Penalty Kick)
46 NJ Sam Kerr (Maya Hayes)
77 ORL Marta
86 ORL Rachel Hill (Steph Catley)
NJ: Sheridan, Mills, Freeman, Pearce, O’Hara, Lytle (Meehan-81), Rodriguez, Killion, Corboz, Hayes (Galton-69), Kerr (Stanton-85)
Subs not used: Casey, Tiernan, Simon, Skroski
Head Coach: Christy Holly
ORL: Bledsoe, Catley, Pressley, Krieger, Edmonds, Kennedy, Weatherholt (Monica-82), Camila, Marta, Ubogagu (Spencer-66), Fields (Hill-67)
Subs Not Used: Driesse, Alleway, Evans, Stanley
Head Coach: Tom Sermanni
Stats Summary: NJ / ORL
Shots: 11 / 14
Saves: 2 / 5
Corner Kicks: 0 / 7
Fouls: 11 / 9
Offside: 2 / 1
75 ORL Jasmyne Spencer (Yellow Card)
90+4 NJ Nikki Stanton (Yellow Card)
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referee 1: Jeffrey Skinner
Assistant Referee 2: Victor Vazqez
Fourth Official: Luis Arroyo
Woman of the Match: Sam Kerr