Janine Beckie on the attack for Sky Blue FC. (Jeffrey Auger Photo)
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Sky Blue FC’s season from hell continued Saturday night with another defeat, this time to Seattle Reign FC, 1-0 at Yurcak Field.
The New Jersey team, which has but one point due to a 0-7-1 start, is languishing in last place place out of nine team s in the National Women’s Soccer League points behind the eighth-place Washington Spirit (2-5-2, 8). In other words, Sky Blue FC needs to win twice and Washington go winless for a game for the team to just tie the Spirit.
“We made some tweaks to our formation tonight to put a few more players in attacking situations,” Sky Blue FC head coach Denise Reddy said. “Knowing how dangerous Seattle is, we were also looking to protect certain areas of the field to limit their offensive opportunities. Overall, I thought this was a great game of soccer, and I am proud of the effort that our players put forth.”
In the starting formation, Reddy played Thaisa Moreno and Sarah Killion in the midfield with Carli Lloyd on top in an attacking role. On the front line, Katie Johnson was flanked in the middle by Janine Beckie and Savannah McCaskill, which opened up more space in the final third.
In the 9th minute Beckie gathered the ball on the left flank and played Thaisa. The Brazilian midfielder one-touched Amanda Frisbie into a run down the center of the pitch before Frisbie placed a ball into the box for Lloyd. After running onto the feed, Lloyd hammered a shot that forced a diving save by goalkeeper Lydia Williams. Lloyd collected the rebound and centered a chip for Johnson, but the service was just out of the range of her would-be header.
In the 33rd minute, Sky Blue FC created another opportunity when Killion sent a corner kick towards the far post that was headed away. Thaisa dropped the rebound off for Christina Gibbons. After the ball was played back to Killion on the right flank, the Sky Blue FC midfielder again delivered service towards the far post, where Beckie one-touched a strike that Williams turned away.
The goal came in the 64th minute. Christen Westphal worked through two defenders on the left side before centering a feed to Megan Rapinoe, who tucked a one-timer inside the far post to make it 1-0.
Sky Blue FC looked for the equalizer, but it was a sharp defensive play in the 80th minute that kept the hosts off the scoreboard. Beverly Yanez split two defenders with a through-ball that landed at the feet of Rapinoe and placed her in a 1v1 situation with keeper Kailen Sheridan. Rapinoe struck a shot on target, but Sheridan made a diving save of the attempt. The rebound danced dangerously toward the goal, but defender Rebekah Stott cleared it from danger.
Next up, Sky Blue FC will host Utah Royals FC for a 7 p.m. kickoff on June 2 at Yurcak Field, which will the team’s Kickoff to Pride Month Celebration