Friday night’s match against the Spirit wasn’t up to Coach Christy Holly’s standards. Despite leading by a goal in the first half, Sky Blue fell apart defensively, giving the Spirit 4 goals in the second half. It seemed clear that without Sam Kerr and Kelley O’Hara, Sky Blue FC lacks offensively, which still doesn’t excuse their defensive mistakes.
In the second minute of play, Sky Blue’s McKenzie Meehan cut past two defenders, getting to the by-line, and sending the ball to the top of the six. Daphne Borboz stretched out, into a split, getting just enough on the ball to redirect it to Maya Hayes at the back post, where Hayes tapped it into the back of the net. Spirit defender, Caprice Dydasco, did all she could, entering a full split herself, but it wasn’t enough.
Later on, in the 27th minute, Sky Blue had a chance to double their score. After a precise through-ball to the eighteen by Corboz, Meehan who was on the break. Meehan attempted a shot, but it went straight to the charging goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé. Labbé parried the shot, though not far enough as Meehan did well to get in front of her defenders and hold the ball for her teammates. She sent the ball wide to Taylor Lytle who one-timed a cross to Nikki Stanton at the opposite end of the six. Stanton’s header was well wide, across the face of goal.
Spirit had a chance in the 31st minute, when Estelle Johnson sent in a dangerous cross. Cheyna Williams went for it, but Sky Blue’s Kailen Sheridan punched it clear in the nick of time. Sky Blue FC finished the first half with the lead, but soon into the second that changed.
In the 51st minute, Sky Blue lost possession after a throw-in, Kristie Mewis had an excellent one-time pass, bouncing to Arielle Ship who touched the ball past a charging Christie Pearce, who decided to try to get there first. Domi Richardson tried to cut Ship off at the eighteen, but wasn’t positioned correctly. Richardson, who wasn’t set up to cover Pearce as she attempted to go for the ball and was way too far central, was forced to try to cover a lot of ground. Ship took the shot before Richardson could reach her, launching it into the upper 90. A defensive error and a pin-point shot leveled the game at 1-1.
Then, after a long kick from Labbé, in the 61st minute, Richardson got the first touch, facing her own goal. She passed back to Sheridan, with Ship on her back, but the pass wasn’t hard enough and Ship easily got it past Sheridan, but the touch was too far in front of herself. Williams, though, was following the play closely and was able to get the next touch into the back of the net, giving the Spirit the lead.
Twelve minutes later, Meggie Dougherty-Howard intercepted a goal kick by Sheridan, releasing to Ship. The give-and-go return to Dougherty-Howard who, between two defenders, sent the ball into the corner of the goal. After the celebration, Sheridan went down on the field forcing the trainer to come out, for possibly a sprained ankle. She stayed in the game, but limped the remaining seventeen minutes.
A full four minutes later, Sky Blue conceded a penalty. Williams sent in a cross that Lindsay Agnew gets on the end of, laying it off to Mewis. Sarah Killion stuck her leg out to intercept and Mewis took the opportunity to draw the penalty. Havana Solaun took the penalty, sending it to Sheridan’s left, though not in the corner. Had Sheridan not hurt her ankle, she may have been able to save it.
The second half ended 4-1 in favor of the Spirit. Coach Holly, speaking at the end of the match, let his opinion be known, “You can’t concede fundamental goals […] and make teams like this look good.” Holly didn’t give an excuse for his team’s play this past weekend, but he’s looking to make improvements during practice this next week.
Sky Blue FC