Jen Hoy connected in extratime for Sky Blue FC. (Photo courtesy of Sky Blue FC)
PISCATAWAY, N.J — For the first time in two seasons, Sky Blue FC has won back-to-back games.
Forward Jen Hoy’s stoppage-time goal made sure of that, boosting the hosts to a 1-0 National Women’s Soccer League victory over Utah Royals FC at Yurcak Field Friday night.
Sky Blue FC, which had won only one match in 2018, improved to 2-7-2 and eight points. It was the team’s first win at home this season.
As the clock wound down in stoppage time, Sarah Killion found an open Hoy. She ran toward the backline, burned her defender with a cut right and curled the shot into the back of the net before a crowd of 1,842.
“I think everyone is playing free and allowing their best qualities to shine through,” Hoy said. “We all just believe in each other one-hundred percent, not like we didn’t before, but we are taking it to a whole new level. I know energetically I can feel it out there, I think everyone can feel it from all of us to the fans.”
In the fourth minute, Sky Blue started its attack after a deflected shot made its way to the head of Erica Skroski. The initial shot by Julie James Doyle clipped off Utah defender Becca Moros’s leg, falling to Skroski. who flicked it towards the near post but was saved by a diving goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart.
Seven minutes later, Elizabeth Eddy slipped the ball through to Imani Dorsey, who fired off a shot just wide of the left post. Royals retaliated with a few attacks between the 17th and 23rd minutes but nothing.
The Royals’ big chance of the first half came in the 28th minute from the foot of forward Amy Rodriguez. A ball sent in over the top of the Sky Blue backline put Rodriguez in space to fire off a shot but was denied by the left post.
The first half finished with Utah keeping most of the possession and two chances. In the 43rd minute, Erika Tymrak’ shot deflected off Skorski for a corner kick. From the corner, Tymrak found defender Gaby Vincent, who headed it over the post.
In the 52nd minute, Sky Blue’s Raquel Rodriguez passed Eddy, putting her into open space at the top of the box. Eddy rifled off a shot towards the left side of the goal, but Barnhart pushed it wide.
In the 54th minute Caprice Dydasco saw open space and slipped in a pass to Dorsey. As Dorsey took the low shot, defender Rachel Corsie cleared it out, although it was close to an own goal.
Utah’s final chance in the 89th minute as Dydasco played a ball back to keeper Kailen Sheridan. Amy Rodriguez, running at full speed, almost picked it off. She collided with Sheridan ended and was called for a foul.
Sky Blue will visit the Orlando Pride on Saturday, July 20 at Exploria Stadium, Saturday, July 20 at 7:30 p.m. The New Jersey side will return home for its World Cup Return Night to face the Washington Spirit Wednesday, July 24 at 7:30 p.m.