Sky Blue FC Ties Portland Thorns 1-1 in Home Opener at Yurcak Field
Piscataway, N.J. — On a perfect early spring night for soccer, Sky Blue FC’s 2014 home opener at RU’s Yurcak Field reeled in a crowd of 2,983 — to see world class female athletes — in a match against the defending National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) champions — visiting from Oregon — Portland ThornsFC (it was Portland’s one and only trip to New Jersey this season).
Sky Blue FC captain “America” Christie Rampone scored the opening goal in the 26th minute on a rebound that Sophie Schmidt headed into the right post. The ball then deflected off Rampone’s leg and found its way into the net. The goal was the first of her professional career.
Rampone, almost 39-years-old, is now in her eighth professional season (she has been on clubs in two other leagues plus the NWSL, with Sky Blue FC, since its inaugural season last year) and is a mother of two young children. Rampone grew up in Point Pleasant, New Jersey.
“It kind of just hit off me and went in. It was a fun moment, but then it’s kind of back to business,” she said.
The New Jersey club was still up by a goal all the way until the 75th minute when defender Kelley O’Hara was called for an inadvertent handball in the box; Portland’s Allie Long then converted a penalty kick to equalize it at 1-1.
Sky Blue FC found itself with a golden opportunity to score the winner in second-half stoppage time. However, Kelley O’Hara failed to convert a penalty kick (on Nikki Marshall’s handball in the penalty area), instead kicking it wide and to the left.
The final minute of the duel was intense but neither club was able to score the go-ahead point, resulting in a 1-1 draw.
“You want to win your home games,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra said. “And I wasn’t really happy with the performance. I thought we looked a little slow to react.
Sky Blue FC remains winless and is now 0-0-2 while the defending champions are now 1-0-1.
Next up for Sky Blue FC is a road match on April 27th against the Boston Breakers, with the team returning to Yurcak Field on Wednesday, April 30th, to host the Seattle Reign FC at 7:00 p.m.
To purchase tickets, visit tickets.skybluefc.com or call 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849)
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