PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Sky Blue FC got its largest crowd of the season, but could not send a sellout crowd of 5,003 at Yurcak Field home with a win Wednesday night.
Forward Ashley Hatch tallied in the 53rd minute to lift the Washington Spirit to a 1-0 victory.
The New Jersey side fell to 2-9-2 and remained at eight points in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Carli Lloyd, a member of the United States’ Women’s World Cup triumph, was honored alongside the team’s other two World Cup players — Kailen Sheridan of Canada and Estelle Johnson of Cameroon — in a postgame ceremony.
“It’s good to be back,” Lloyd told the Asbury Press. “Great crowd, we’re obviously seeing the huge wave from the World Cup win, NWSL attendances have been up, so it’s great to see. Unfortunately, we wanted to come away with a win, but we didn’t.”
The Spirit came out in control for the first half controlling 63.5 percent of the possession. Its first opportunity came in the 2nd minute when midfielder Jordan DiBiasi attempted to put a deflection on frame but was blocked by defender Estelle Johnson. The deflection fell to forward Rose Lavelle, who skied the shot over the crossbar.
Washington had another chance in the sixth minute when Hatch played in Lavelle on the left side of the box. Lavelle fired a shot only to be blocked by Johnson. The deflection fell to Hatch, who drilled off a shot and was blocked by defender Erica Skroski.
Sky Blue’s first chance on goal came in the 14th minute from a build-up started by Lloyd. She ran down the left side of the field, cut back to her right and sent a cross to Raquel Rodriguez at the top of the box. Rodriguez cut left and ripped a shot off just over the crossbar.
Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan was called into action in the 21st minute after Spirit forward Mallory Pugh lofted a ball over the backline towards the far-left post where Lavelle was making a run. With a tight angle, Lavelle sent the shot in but what kicked saved by Sheridan.
In the 26th minute, Johnson cut off a pass and sent it up the field to Rodriguez on the right flank. Rodriguez sent in a low cross towards goal but was cleared out by defender Paige Nielsen.
Washington came close in the 35th minute as defender Tori Huster sent a ball up the sideline to Pugh and she cut back towards goal, sending a low curling shot just wide of the left post.
The last attempt for Sky Blue in the first half came stoppage time as Lloyd played in Paige Monaghan towards the left side of the box. Monaghan passed the ball into Imani Dorsey in front of goal as Dorsey turned and fired a shot but was blocked by Huster.
The second half had very few chances on goal for Sky Blue, with the Spirit holding 64 percent possession. Washington’s goal came in the 54th minute as Hatch sprinted at goal and sent a low shot in at the far-right corner.
Sky Blue FC will be on the road for their next three games itas faces the Houston Dash in Houston Sunday, July 28 at 7 p.m. ET, travel to Portland to play the Thorns on Saturday, Aug. 3 at 11 p.m. ET and finish off in Utah Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 10 p.m. ET.
The returns home to host the Chicago Red Stars for the club’s Back to School Night Wednesday, Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. ET.