Sam Kerr and her teammates celebrate her record-breaking goal. (Photo courtesy of Sky Blue FC)
ALLSTON, Mass. – Sky Blue FC ended the National Women’s Soccer League season on a high note, overcoming a two-goal deficit as striker Sam Kerr scored her record 17th goal in a 4-3 victory over the Boston Breakers at Jordan Field Saturday night.
Kerr, an Australian international, scored the first goal in the comeback in the 34th minute.
U.S. international Kelley O’Hara tallied the game-winner in the 87th minute for Sky Blue FC (10-11-3, 33 points) as Boston (46) fell to 15-6-1.
Boston drew first blood, making good on a sequence that started with Midge Purce speeding down the right flank. She sent a cross into the area to Natasha Dowie, who headed the ball home.
In the 28th minute, the Breakers stretched their advantage to 2-0. Tiffany Weimer crossed a ball from deep on the left flank, finding a racing Dowie into the penalty area. Dowie flicked a header that redirected past a diving goalkeeper Caroline Casey.
Staying aggressive in its final third, Sky Blue FC pulled one back in the 34th minute. Maya Hayes struck a ball towards Kerr on the near post, who side-volleyed it with the outside of her right foot, which gave keeper Abby Smith no time to react, closing the gap to 2-1.
Kerr’s 17th goal, which broke the NWSL record for most goals in a season, which she shared with Sam Little. Kerr also owns the NWSL record for most career goal (43).
Sky Blue FC leveled the count in the 76th minute as O’Hara sent a cross through the center of the box, landing at the feet of Madison Tiernan at the far post. The New Jersey native stepped around a defender to find a tight angle on goal, hammering a ball underneath Smith for a 2-2 equalizer.
Only two minutes later, Sky Blue FC claimed its first lead of the night after earning a corner kick. Taylor Lytle placed a well-struck ball off a corner kick on the far post, where Erica Skroski poked it past Smith for her first goal of the season for a 3-2 edge.
In the 85th minute, Dowie played an overlapping Ifeoma Onumonu into the left side of the penalty area. Onumonu hit a drifting ball towards the frame that proved to be just a bit too difficult for Casey to handle. The Sky Blue FC goalkeeper fought to keep the ball off her line, but she was charged with an own goal.
Sky Blue FC, however, had one more goal left.
Skroski sent a hard roller to Leah Galton on the left flank as the England international raced towards goal. As she reached the end line, Galton sent a ball across the mouth of the frame that found O’Hara on the other side of the penalty area. The U.S. international blasted the ball past a diving Smith, giving Sky Blue FC the game-winning goal.
25 BOS Natasha Dowie (Midge Purce)
28 BOS Natasha Dowie (Tiffany Weimer)
34 NJ Sam Kerr (Maya Hayes)
76 NJ Madison Tiernan (Kelley O’Hara)
78 NJ Erica Skroski (Taylor Lytle)
85 BOS (Caroline Casey Own Goal)
87 NJ Kelley O’Hara (Leah Galton)
NJ: Casey, Skroski, Freeman, Richardson, O’Hara, Stanton, Lytle (Galton-81), Rodriguez, Tiernan, Kerr, Hayes (Meehan-73)
Subs not used: Sheridan, Benintente, Mills, Killion, Simon
Game Day Coach: David Hodgson
BOS: Smith, Purce, Oyster, Frisbie, Chapman, Leon, Elby, Salem, Weimer (Onumonu-53), Dowie, Stengel (Andrews-62)
Subs Not Used: Prudhomme, Dowd
Head Coach: Matt Beard
Stats Summary: BOS / NJ
Shots: 14 / 11
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 11 / 3
Fouls: 4/ 6
Offside: 1 / 6
64 BOS Midge Purce
72 NJ Madison Tiernan
Referee: Karen Abt
Assistant Referee 1: John Krill
Assistant Referee 2: Jordan Davis
Fourth Official: Tom Felice
Woman of the Match: Kelley O’Hara