Forward Katie Johnson found the back of the net twice tonight for Sky Blue FC (0-3-1, 1 point), but it was the visiting Houston Dash (1-3-2, 5 points) that earned the eventual result at Yurcak Field, 3-2.
“We played fairly well in the first half, but I really liked the response we had in the second half tonight,” said Denise Reddy, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We established a good rhythm and scored two goals, but we just came out a little bit unfortunate in the end. On a good day, we likely come away with the result. Overall, I was happy with our response in the second half and in finding a way to put two goals into the back of the net.”
In the 18th minute, Sky Blue FC created a good opportunity after Carli Lloyd collected just outside the 18. She sent a through-ball to Johnson inside the box, where she turned and played Janine Beckie. The Canada international then fired a shot on frame that deflected off a defender before it was collected by Houston netminder Jane Campbell.
The Dash eventually broke the deadlock after earning a corner kick in the 24thminute. Putting the ball into play was Kristie Mewis, whose service hugged the end line and sailed over the reach of Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. Chasing it down was Lindsey Agnew, and she one-touched it back into play near the front of the goal. The recipient of the feed was Nichelle Prince, who was able to score it and give the visiting side a 1-0 advantage.
Sky Blue FC nearly found its equalizer in the 55th minute, as Lloyd gathered possession in the midfield and found Savannah McCaskill just ahead of her. McCaskill then cut a ball through a pair of Houston defenders to the feet of a racing Johnson, who touched around Campbell and fired towards the would-be open goal. However, Amber Brooks hustled down the attempt and was able to poke it away before any damage was done.
Just two minutes later, Lloyd played a ball over the top for Shea Groom, who perfectly timed a burst past her defender and raced into the box. With space, she carried possession towards the end line and centered a hard roller that found the outside of Johnson’s right foot, leveling the contest at one apiece.
In the 59th minute, the Dash regained the lead when Rachel Daly delivered a crossing ball from the right flank that Sheridan had difficulty in managing, updating the count to 2-1.
Sky Blue FC continued to battle after the one-goal deficit returned, and Johnson eventually evened the match once again in the 73rd minute. On that conversion, Sky Blue FC was doing a great job of knocking around the ball following a short corner. Beckie put it in play for McCaskill, who then one-touched for Groom. Following a quick tap from Groom, Sarah Killion put a great strike on a chip towards the center of the area. Surrounded by four defenders, Johnson then climbed the ladder and put a header on the feed to equalize for a second time in the half, 2-2.
The last tally of this contest came in the 79th minute, as a ball was delivered upfield to a racing Thembi Kgatlana on the right flank. She then turned and sent a feed across the mouth of the goal, where Veronica Latsko was there to finish and hang the final 3-2 count.
Sky Blue FC now heads to Seattle Reign FC next weekend before returning home to Yurcak Field on Saturday, May 19, hosting the North Carolina Courage for a 7 p.m. kickoff. Tickets for that match are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).
For all of the latest news on Sky Blue FC, visit the team online and follow them on social media: @SkyBlueFC
NWSL Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. Houston Dash
Date: May 5, 2018
Venue: Yurcak Field; Piscataway, N.J.
Weather: 67 degrees, cloudy
NJ: 0 | 2 - 2
HOU: 1 | 2 – 3
24 HOU Nichelle Prince (Lindsey Agnew)
57 NJ Katie Johnson (Shea Groom)
59 HOU Rachel Daly (Kealia Ohai)
73 NJ Katie Johnson (Sarah Killion)
79 Veronica Latsko (Thembi Kgatlana)
NJ: Sheridan, Freeman, Stott, Skroski, Gibbons (Hoy-85), Rodriguez (Groom-46), Killion, Lloyd, McCaskill, Beckie, Johnson (Tiernan-85)
Subs not used: Casey, Meehan, Moreno, Richardson
Head Coach: Denise Reddy
HOU: Campbell, Mewis, Daly, Van Wyk, Keever, Ohai (Kgatlana-76), Agnew (Latsko-71), Prince (Jordan-90), Hanson, Brooks, Simon
Subs Not Used: Henninger, Hahn, Jordan, Shim, Murphy
Head Coach: Vera Pauw
Stats Summary: NJ / HOU
Shots: 11 / 17
Saves: 3 / 1
Corner Kicks: 3 / 8
Fouls: 11 / 7
Offside: 2 / 4
64 NJ Savannah McCaskill (Yellow Card)
84 HOU Rachel Daly (Yellow Card)
Referee: Christina Unkel
Assistant Referee 1: Trent Vanhaitsma
Assistant Referee 2: Luis Arroyo
Fourth Official: Amato DeLuca