Categorized | Match Reports

Different Coast, Same Result as Sky Blue FC fall to FC Gold Pride

Posted on 02 May 2010 by lbarker

On a summer-like evening at Yurcak Field – with temperatures in the high 80s at game time – FC Gold Pride came to New Jersey to take on defending WPS champions Sky Blue FC. The “battle of the teams who prefer not to identify geographically” became the “battle for the top of the table” with both teams tied for first place in the league coming into Saturday’s match. Two weeks ago Sky Blue lost to Gold Pride, going down 3-1 on the west coast. And while the home teams were switched, the end result was still the same, with the Pride topping Sky Blue, this time by a 1-0 score.

Christie Sinclair © photos

Gold Pride was back at full strength after playing without forward Christine Sinclair who missed last week’s match on National Team duty for Canada. Sky Blue on the other hand, was missing a several key players. Goalkeeper Jenni Branam is still out with a knee injury, so Karen Bardsley was once again in net for Sky Blue. In back they were without Christie Rampone (maternity leave), Anita Asante (knee) and Meghan Schnur, who missed her second game in three weeks with a knee injury of her own. Sky Blue’s all-star midfield was also minus a player, with Carli Lloyd out until at least June with a broken ankle, sustained in last week’s match at Chicago. Up top speedy striker Natasha Kai was out with a hamstring injury.

Each team had a few chances early in the match, exchanging opportunities for the first few minutes. The Bay Area’s FC Gold Pride had an opportunity in the 5th minute as Christine Sinclair went one-on-one with Bardsley, but Bardsley, acting more like a fifth defender, came out to win the ball. Sky Blue captain Kasey White nearly put her team in front in the 12th minute, ringing a bad-angle shot off the crossbar. As the half wore on, Gold Pride began applying more pressure, and had a golden opportunity in 28th minute. A miscommunication between Bardsley and Dutch defender Daphne Koster left the goal wide open for Sinclair. The Canadian international sent a ball rolling across the goal mouth, but wide. Gold Pride’s best chance of the first half though, came in the 34th minute, as Koster was whistled for a foul after taking Gold Pride’s Kelley O’Hara down in the box. French international Camille Abily went to the spot for the Pride and sent a hard shot in on Bardsley, but the Sky Blue keeper was able to dive and make the save. Marta fired the rebound back towards goal, but Bardsley, apparently channeling Hope Solo (see: last weekend’s Athletica-Breakers game), was able to stop the second chance effort as well. Bardsley’s second save knocked the ball out of play, but the English international wasn’t done, stopping one more Marta shot off the ensuing corner.

Sky Blue FC would counter in the 37th, with Swedish international Jessica Landstrom sending hard shot over the bar. But the spark Sky Blue was expecting from the saved PK was short-lived; Sinclair would tally the game’s only goal a minute later. Daphne Koster was called for a foul on O’Hara, and it was again Abily over the ball. Abily sent the ball into the area, where Carrie Dew headed it to Sinclair, who volleyed a shot past Bardsley. After the match Marta acknowledged that her presence probably drew Sky Blue’s defense away from Sinclair. “By marking [me] it opens up space for somebody else and the other players coming in, that’s gonna be great for us during the season” the Brazilian said through a translator.

Sky Blue would get one more chance late in the first half, as Keeley Dowling fired a shot from distance that Gold Pride keeper Nicole Barnhart initially had trouble controlling. Ultimately though, the first frame ended with the home team down by a goal.

A seemingly much more organized Sky Blue FC came out looking to even the score as the second half got underway. Less than a minute in Heather O’Reilly sent a cross that Landstrom was able to turn and fire on goal, again Barnhart came up with the save. Marta had a near breakaway in the 55th, but Sky Blue’s defense did well to recover. Sky Blue FC quickly went back the other way, with rookie Kiersten Dallstream on a near breakaway of her own, this one stopped by Pride captain Rachel Buehler. The back and forth continued, with Sinclair and another Sky Blue rookie, Brittany Taylor, going 1 v 1. It was Taylor who won the ball. The end to end action continued and in the 61st minute it was Dallstream again, this time sending a ball in for O’Reilly, who had a wide open opportunity for the equalizer. O’Reilly lost her footing (or tripped over the ball?) and wasn’t able to get a shot away. The team from the Bay Area had a chance to put the game away in the 65, as Sinclair sent another shot in on Bardsley. This time, the Sky Blue keeper was able to get her fingertips on it. Although it was Sky Blue FC that looked to be controlling the play for much of the second half, FC Gold Pride had a chance in the 73rd minute, this time with Sinclair and Marta going 2 v 1 against Taylor. Again Taylor thwarted the Pride’s attack. Sky Blue’s last good opportunity came in the 82nd minute. Finnish international Laura Kalmari took a hard shot from the top of the box, it sailed just over the crossbar. Sky Blue FC continued to pressure Gold Pride but time ultimately ran out for the Blue and Orange, and Gold Pride got the win against the New Jersey team for the second time in three weeks. With the victory, FC Gold Pride takes sole possession of first place in the league, a very different position than the Pride found themselves in a year ago, finishing the 2009 season at the bottom of the table. Marta, who came to the Pride in the LA Sol dispersal draft, pointed out that this team isn’t the Gold Pride of ’09. “it’s not like last year’s team. There’s a lot of good players on our team right now, and now the focus should be on our team, this team that we have this year.”


Despite this being Sky Blue’s second home game of the season, it was the first time they wore their namesake home “sky blue” kits, playing the previous home match in the away orange…Sky Blue is now 2/2 in stopping penalty kicks, with both coming against FC Gold Pride – in 2009 Jenni Branam stopped a PK from Tiffany Weimer – and they’ve lost both of those matches by the same 1-0 score…Sky Blue will play their fifth match of the season in Atlanta next weekend, opening the Beat’s new stadium – it will be the first time this season Sky Blue has a played a team other than Chicago or FC Gold Pride and the first time ever that Sky Blue and Atlanta face each other…Christine Sinclair has three goals on the season, all are against Sky Blue FC…of Sky Blue’s 4 matches this season, 3 have been decided by 1 goal…FC Gold Pride’s Kiki Bosio, who came in as a second half sub, is one of only a few players in WPS who uses a flip throw-in…Sky Blue FC was missing six starters, including 3 defenders…FC Gold Pride has one NJ native on their roster, developmental keeper Erin Guthrie, but she didn’t make the trip with the team…Sky Blue FC switched developmental goalkeepers on Friday, waiving Ashley Thompson and adding Shannon Myers – Myers spent 2009 with Sky Blue, although she wasn’t on the team’s official roster, and spent the 2010 preseason with Atlanta…Sky Blue’s Megan Snell made her professional debut, coming on for Landstrom in the 83rd


Sky Blue FC (2-2-0) vs. FC Gold Pride (3-1-0)
Saturday, May 1, 2010 β€” Yurcak Field

BAY: Christine Sinclair 3 (Carrie Dew) 39′


SKY BLUE FC β€” Karen Bardsley, Keeley Dowling, Daphne Koster, Brittany Taylor, Danielle Johnson (Katie Schoepfer, 81′), Heather O’Reilly, Laura Kalmari, Rosana (Kiersten Dallstream, 55′), Yael Averbuch, Kacey White, Jessica Landstrom (Meagan Snell, 84′)

Substitutes Not Used: Shannon Myers, Angela Salem

FC GOLD PRIDE β€” Nicole Barnhart, Rachel Buehler, Candace Chapman, Carrie Dew, Becky Edwards, Ali Riley, Camille Abily (Kiki Bosio, 67′), Kristen Graczyk (Kandace Wilson, 91+), Marta, Kelley O’Hara, Christine Sinclair (Tiffeny Milbrett, 82′)

Substitutes Not Used: Brittany Cameron, Solveig Gulbrandsen

Shots 10 12
Shots on Goal 6 9
Fouls 10 8
Offsides 4 1
Corner Kicks 6 3
Saves 8 5

BAY: Becky Edwards (Caution) 26′
BAY: Kelley O’Hara (Caution) 84′

Referee: Stephanie Toth
Referee Assistants: Bryan Roslund, Michael Donovan
4th Official: Jose Carlos Rivero
Attendance: 3798

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