ORLANDO, Fla. — Even with Sam Kerr returning to the lineup, Sky Blue FC was not match for the Orlando Pride Saturday night.
In fact, the New Jersey side hit the low point of its National Women’s Soccer League season, suffering an embarrassing 5-0 loss at Orlando City Stadium.
Brazilian superstar Marta scored twice and set up another goal for the Pride, which improved to 7-6-5 and 26 points, while Sky Blue FC (23) fell to 7-9-2.
Sky Blue FC lost its third consecutive match, during which the team has surrendered 14 goals.
“We showed a very nervous low in confidence across the board tonight,” Sky Blue FC head coach Christy Holly said. “We need to learn from this performance very quickly and approach next week’s game with energy and purpose.”
Kerr, who missed last week’s game as she played for champion Australia at the Tournament of Nations, did not factor into Saturday’s match.
Orlando struck in the fourth minute on a player that started with Marta in the midfield. She served a looping ball onto the feet of a racing Alex Morgan, who stepped around a defender before finishing to make it 1-0.
Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan made some critical saves to keep this a one-goal contest, but Orlando stretched its advantage to 2-0 in the 43rd minute. Camila split two defenders on the right flank before centering a hard roller for Dani Weatherholt in front of the frame. Weatherholt one-timed the pass into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.
Things quickly got out of hand in the second half. In the 47th minute, Long Island native Jasmyne Spencer split two defenders to find Morgan alone with Sheridan, and the U.S. international slotted it past her to make it 3-0.
Spencer crossed a ball from the right flank in the 53rd minute that was just beyond the grasp of Sheridan, and Marta was there to head it home and make it a 4-0 advantage. In the 58th minute, Morgan sent a hard roller through the center of the Sky Blue FC defense that found Marta, and she struck the ball away before Sheridan had a chance to react for the final score.
Sheridan stopped a penalty kick as Spencer went down in the box for a Pride penalty attempt in the 66th minute. Maddy Evans was denied by Sheridan when she struck it to her right. The Canada international finished with seven saves.
Sky Blue FC will look to start that new beginning next weekend when it returns home to New Jersey on Saturday, August 19, hosting Seattle Reign FC for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Yurcak Field in Piscataway< N.J.