In a 3-1 final, Sky Blue FC recorded their first loss of the 2015 NWSL season – and their first defeat in 9 months.
Bolstered by a brace (two goals) from forward Crystal Dunn, the Washington Spirit dominated in Sky Blue’s second home match of the season on a brisk Sunday night in Piscataway, N.J. Sky Blue drops to 1-1-1 with four points on the season, while the Spirit now sport a 2-1-0 record.
“She gave us a lot of trouble,” Sky Blue head coach Jim Gabarra said of Dunn after the contest. Dunn, a New York native, weaved in and out of Sky Blue’s defense on several occasions, including her two goals, both of which came in the first half. Both scores for Dunn came on defensive counterattack lapses for Sky Blue, and both of her shots came inside the 20-yard box. Washington’s offensive pressure – led by the explosive Dunn — was apparent from the start on Sunday.
“We could have scored 4 or 5 before [Sky Blue] got on the board,” said Spirit head coach Mark Parsons. “[Dunn] was fantastic.”
Washington’s first goal came from Dunn 6 minutes into the match off of a close feed from rookie Francisca Ordega, who was starting her first NWSL game. Ordega, who is Nigerian, accompanied Dunn exquisitely throughout the 90 minute match. “She’s special,” said Parsons.
Following Dunn’s first score came several decent chances from Sky Blue; a rising shot from Maya Hayes, a crossbar hit from Katy Freels. But that momentum came to a halt when Dunn scored in the 40th minute, netting a shot off of her own rebound. On the play, after making an initial save, Sky Blue goalkeeper Brittany Cameron was in no position to stop Dunn from following up her first shot. Her score secured the Spirit’s lead entering half time.
Trailing 2-0 at 45 minutes, Sky Blue looked to enter the second half with a far more inspiring offensive performance. It was to no avail, however, as a tic-tac play between Ordega and Christine Nairn extended the Spirit’s lead to 3-0 just three minutes into the second half. Sky Blue eventually scored a goal of their own – Freels’ hard strike made it 3-1 in the 62nd minute – but the final result was never truly close in the contest.
Sky Blue’s loss marked their first in 9 months, a streak that includes the tail end of last season. Additionally, before their draw last week to the Houston Dash, Sky Blue boasted a franchise-record six-game win streak.
Sky Blue now prepares for their next appearance, a May 2nd outing in Chicago against the Red Stars.