Cary, N.C. – Playing in its third game in less than a week, Sky Blue FC took some heavy legs into WakeMed Soccer Park and grinded out a hard-fought win over the first-place North Carolina Courage, 1-0, Saturday.
Sam Kerr, the National Women’s Soccer League player of the month for April and May, connected for the game-winner in the 84th minute. North Carolina fell to 8-4.
“I could not be any prouder of this set of players,” said Sky Blue FC head coach Christy Holly, whose team improved to 6-6-1 and 19 points. “They overcame tremendous adversity with having to play in three different states over six days. For our team to step up and perform the way they did today says everything about the ability, and more importantly the character of every individual associated with this organization.”
Neither side had been able to break though until Sky Blue FC did so in the 84th minute. Leah Galton was played into space on the left flank by Nikki Stanton. The England international moved around two defender toward the end line. She sent a cross towards the near post, where Maya Hayes was planted. Hayes flicked the ball to an open Kerr behind her and the Australia international one-timed the feed past Courage goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland to score.
Kerr’s goal was her sixth of the season and has her one off the league lead. It also was the 32nd of her NWSL career and placed her a single goal behind North Carolina forward Jess McDonald for the all-time record.
What an incredible effort from this team! Three games in less than a week, and Sky Blue FC has gone into WakeMed Soccer Park and taken three road points from the first-place North Carolina Courage.
تم نشره بواسطة Sky Blue FC في 1 يوليو، 2017
Video courtesy of Sky Blue FC Facebook page
First-year goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan registered her second shutout this season. The shutout also was the first time that any NWSL team had blanked the Courage this season.
Sheridan made a big save on a Samantha Mewis penalty kick in the 54th minute.
Mewis was played into the left side of the area Sheridan came off her line to collect the loose ball. As Sheridan got there, she and Mewis got tangled up, and a Courage penalty was awarded. Mewis struck the ball to her left, but Sheridan ade a critical diving save.
“I think we lost in big moments of the game, like with [Makenzy] Doniak three minutes into the game with the open net and obviously the penalty kick was a huge moment in the game at nil-nil,” North Carolina head coach Paul Riley said. “But in all fairness I thought [Sky Blue] played really well, on the back of their third game in seven days you have to give them credit. They worked their socks off and made it really difficult for us.
“We were just a little bit off and in this league if you’re a little bit off you can’t win games. I think if one of our chances in the first 10 minutes had gone in we would have gone on to win the game but it didn’t happen. We weren’t at our best today no questions, with injuries we’re missing quite a few, but no excuses they were the better team today. Hats off to them, I thought they came in with a good gameplay and did very well.”
Sky Blue FC returns home to Yurcak Field next Saturday, July 8 at 7 p.m., hosting FC Kansas City.