Sky Blue FC and Houston Dash Finish in Draw, Remain Undefeated
PISCATAWAY (NJ) – After ninety-two minutes of action, Sky Blue FC (1-0-1 4 points) and the Houston Dash (1-0-1, 4 points) ended their National Women’s Soccer League contest as they started, undefeated. Katy Freels gave Sky Blue FC the early lead with her first goal of the season in the 14th minute of the home opener for her team. Houston forward Jessica McDonald tied the match in the 52nd minute with a tally of her own.
Sky Blue FC found themselves defending most of the contest as Houston held possession and fired 19 shots in the contest.
“You can’t defend for long stretches of time and then give the ball back to them,” Sky Blue FC Head Coach Jim Gabarra said after the game.
There were dramatic moments early in the contest but defenders Kristen Grubka, Christie Rampone, Lindsi Cutshall, Kelley O’Harra and Cami Levin held strong in front of goalkeeper Brittany Cameron. Sky Blue FC averted early disaster when Grubka stepped in front of a sure goal after goalie Brittany Cameron fell challenging a shot.
Shortly after that at 14’ Freels collected a pass from O’Hara and deposited her first tally of the season into the upper left corner of the net.
The lead held into the break, but an injury forced Sky Blue FC to take the pitch minus the services of forward Nadia Nadim.
“A little groin tightness so we didn’t want to push her,” Gabarra said referring to Nadim. “Something that happened in training yesterday, it was a rough going for her up front anyway as it was, we weren’t doing a good job of getting numbers forward with her.”
While dominating possession Houston came close at least four times before breaking through in the 52nd minute. Morgan Brian’s pass bounced over hand of Brittany Cameron and Jessica McDonald toed the ball into the open net. This was the first goal surrendered by Sky Blue FC this season.
Houston had it rough last season, their inaugural, finishing with a 5-16-3 record so the feelings are cautiously mixed about this season’s early success.
“I’m definitely disappointed we didn’t walk away with three but definitely a big improvement over where we were last year this time,” Houston Head Coach Randy Waldrum said.
Waldrum further stressed the importance of getting points early in the season and pointed out the parity in the NWSL.
“(Even with the win) Mixed feelings, I thought we were unlucky in a sense not to get three points especially the way we were on them in the end with so many set pieces.”
Sky Blue FC faces the Washington Spirit Sunday at Yurcack field in an attempt to run their unbeaten streak to seven victories going back to last season.
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