Michelle Wenino (right) scored her first WPS goal on Saturday (Photo by Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).
Team Remains Unbeaten at Home by Playing Level with magicJack, 2-2
Sky Blue FC (3-4-4, 13 points) fought its way out of a two-goal halftime deficit on Saturday night at Yurcak Field, playing to an eventual 2-2 result with magicJack (5-4-1, 15 points) in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) action. By gaining the point, Sky Blue FC remains unbeaten (3-0-3) in six matches at home this season, its best run in franchise history.
MagicJack hung the first goal of the evening in the 14th minute of this contest. On that scoring play, midfielder Nikki Washington received a ball in the midfield and then saw a streaking Christen Press running through the center of the Sky Blue FC defense. Looking to take advantage of the opportunity, Washington booted a high ball towards the box, and Press immediately ran onto it and into a 1v1 situation with goalkeeper Jenni Branam. After quickly settling, Press chipped the ball over the head of Branam and into the net, giving her team a 1-0 lead.
The road side then increased its advantage to 2-0 in the 37th minute when it capitalized on a corner kick. Standing over the ball on the right flag was midfielder Sarah Huffman, who fired an attempt to the front of the frame. Standing there awaiting the distribution was fellow midfielder Omolyn Davis, who put a leg on the ball and sent it into the back netting. With that two-goal difference, Sky Blue FC saw itself facing its largest home deficit of the season, and that tally would remain standing when the whistle was blown for halftime.
After battling to overtake the momentum in this contest in the second half, Sky Blue FC was finally able to do just that in the 65th minute. After a foul presented the home team with a free kick chance from 25 yards out, Spanish international Adriana stepped over the ball and saw magicJack netminder Brett Maron cheat just enough to her side that she saw the opportunity to put a shot on target. She immediately fired the set piece attempt towards the frame, and the ball went flying into the back of the net.
However, Sky Blue FC was not done.
Following the ensuing kickoff after her goal, Adriana was able to pick the ball from her opposition and immediately delivered a feed over to Long. The former Tar Heel then looked up and saw a streaking Michelle Wenino, who had just checked into the game in the 61st minute. Long next delivered a pass to Wenino, who quickly put a solid strike towards the frame and saw it sail past the outstretched arms of Maron. Not only did Wenino level the count for her side at two each, she also became the 10th different Sky Blue FC player to notch a goal this season, a team record. A second historical statistic occurred with that tally, with the 56 seconds that ticked during the two knocks marking the shortest amount of time between two goals in the history of the franchise.
Both teams continued to exert every bit of energy they had over the remaining minutes of this contest, but the 2-2 count would still be standing when the final whistle was blown.
Next up for Sky Blue FC is a home match on Sunday, July 17th, when the team hosts the Western New York Flash at Yurcak Field. The team will be hosting a Soccer Celebration that evening, getting the festivities started at 2:45 pm. with a viewing party of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final on a big screen in the Yurcak Field parking lot. Sky Blue FC will also be wearing pink kits as part of PUMA’s Project Pink initiative, and the jerseys will be auctioned off for charity at the stadium. Sky Blue FC will additionally celebrate military members and first responders as part of a “See Extraordinary – Heroes” program.
Check out the Resolution Sports YouTube Channel for post-game video interviews of Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra and midfielders Allie Long and Michelle Wenino!