Carli Lloyd could not put away a penalty kick. (Photo courtesy of Sky Blue FC)
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Well, give Sky Blue FC some credit.
The National Women’s Soccer League team finds different ways to lose games.
On Saturday night, the usual reliable Carli Lloyd failed to convert a first-half penalty kick as Sky Blue went down to a 2-0 home-opening defeat to the Houston Dash before a crowd of 1,394 at Yurcak Field.
Sofia Huerta scored the lone goal for the Dash in the 83rd minute.
“It was a good step forward for the team technically and mentally. Tactically, I think the biggest thing for us is not taking a step back, making sure we push every week to go forward,” Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan said. “I think that’s going to be the best thing for us right now, it’s really important that we don’t go backwards. We are on a good momentum and it’s the beginning of the season. Time to just push forward, full steam ahead.”
Sky Blue FC (0-2-0) started the match off full speed as the hosts put pressure on the backline, forcing turnovers. In the 16th minute, Sheridan was called into action when Dash forward Veronica Latsko slipped in a ball to Lindsay Agnew. creating a one on one chance at goal. Sheridan held her ground and stuffed Agnew’s shot.
The hosts’ first chance came in the 26th minute off a buildup in Houston’s final third as Sarah Killion played a ball into U.S. international Lloyd, who was pushed to the ground and awarded a penalty kick. Lloyd stepped up to the spot, but the shot went off the left post.
Houston did not let up the gas in the first half, firing off shots at Sheridan. In the 20th minute, Dash defender Lindsay Agnew sent a rocket towards the upper right corner but couldn’t beat the diving Sheridan.
Sky Blue’s last chance in the first half was a scramble in the box that put the ball at the feet of Nahomi Kawasumi, but her shot was cleared off the line.
Sheridan was put to the test again in the second half. Dash forward Rachel Daly, a former standout at St. John’s University, attempted to send the ball into the back of the net but was denied by the out stretched foot of Sheridan and cleared off the line by Kawasumi.
Houston found the range in the 83rd minute. Daly tried to chip Sheridan, but was denied by the goalkeeper’s quick reflexes. The deflection ended up going to Huerta, who scored.
Sky Blue FC hosts the Portland Thorns Sunday, April 28.