Kailen Sheridan came up big when it counted deep into stoppage time with her PK save. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
ORLANDO — There are two ways to look at Sky Blue FC’s 2-2 road draw at the Orlando Pride Sunday night.
Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan’s penalty-kick save in the seventh minute of stoppage time made sure the New Jersey side avoided its 14th loss of the National Women’s Soccer League season.
On the other hand, Sky Blue FC is still winless after 18 matches with a 0-13-4 mark. Third-place Orlando moved to 8-6-6.
The league’s longest winless streak continued at Orlando City Stadium in a wild game that included a red card, an 11th-hour handball and of course, that penalty kick.
All three occurred in injury time as the hosts attempted a corner kick six minutes in. Pride midfielder Emily van Egmond headed the ball on frame, outside of the reach of Sheridan. Sky Blue FC’s Carli Lloyd rose up and made contact with the ball with her arm, stopping the ball from going over the line. Lloyd was shown a red card by referee Luis Guardia for the handball.
Pride forward Marta took the penalty kick, hitting it low and with her left foot to the right side of goal. Sheridan dove the right way and blocked the shot before it was cleared. Orlando got another corner kick after that, but still could not find the game-winning goal.
“I thought we were really well-organized tonight,” Sky Blue FC head coach Denise Reddy said. “We created a few good chances on direct transition in the first half, but we were unable to hold the ball long enough. That made us defend a little more often than we would like. In the second half, we were able to come into our own with a bit more possession and by changing the point of attack. Overall, our players showed so much discipline tonight and worked well together for the entire 90 minutes. As a coach, you really cannot ask for much more than that.”
Marta got the Pride a 1-0 lead in the 51st minute after a shot from Dani Weatherholt hit the far post. The ball bounced into the path of Marta, who slotted home her fourth goal this season.
Two minutes later, the visitors equalized. Shea Groom served a cross to Imani Dorsey, who was open in the penalty area. Dorsey hit a drive with her right foot past goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris for a 1-1 tie.
In the 59th minute, Groom gave Sky Blue their first lead of this season — yes, you are reading it correctly, of this season — scoring after a cross from Savannah McCaskill. A cross from Lloyd, who subbed in in the 56th minute, set up McCaskill to start the scoring sequence.
Groom, however, hit her head on the play and was forced from the match.
In the 73rd minute, Camila played Weatherholt into the box with a pass, and Weatherholt tallied the equalizer.