Yellow Crush? Independence Thrash Sky Blue 4-1

Posted on 20 June 2010 by lbarker

The story-line of the night should have been Christie Rampone playing the full 90 and donning the captain’s armband in her return to Yurcak.  Instead it was two former Boston Breakers having two very different nights and one former Chicago Red Star who was left unprotected in the expansion draft delivering a breakout performance.*  Turns out Philadelphia is not only the “City of Brotherly Love,” it’s also becoming the Ellis Island of Women’s Professional Soccer, a place where the struggling, forgotten, under-appreciated and/or displaced get a second chance.**

The Philadelphia Independence came to New Jersey on Saturday to face Sky Blue FC.  At stake was sole possession of second place in the WPS standings and bragging rights in the as-yet-to-be-named derby.    The expansion Independence beat defending WPS Champions Sky Blue two weeks ago in Philly and Jersey’s team would certainly be looking for revenge.  Right?

Turns out the Independence had other plans and Sky Blue had, well, no plan.  Both teams were missing several players due to UEFA World Cup Qualifiers – for Philadelphia Holmfridur Magnusdottir (Iceland), Sara Larsson (Sweden), Lianne Sanderson (England) and Caroline Seger (Sweden) were absent and Karen Bardsley (England), Laura Kalmari (Finland), Daphne Koster (Netherlands) and Jessica Landstrom (Sweden) missed class for Sky Blue FC.  Sky Blue’s absentees left the Blue and Orange exposed, while Philly’s missing members simply gave some not-often-utilized players a chance to shine.  Danesha Adams, who came to Philadelphia via Chicago and who’d played just 29 minutes all season for the Indys coming into Saturday’s match, had a goal and two assists as Philadelphia trounced Sky Blue FC 4-1.  When Sky Blue coach Pauliina Miettinen was asked about the impact that the missing internationals had on the match her response was simple: “It shouldn’t.  It shouldn’t.  We played last game with all the missing players.  It shouldn’t.”

In just the third minute Sky Blue would get their first of only a few opportunities as Rosana fed a ball to forward Tasha Kai.  Kai’s attempt hit the side netting and the Independence quickly countered.  In the fifth minute Philadelphia forward Amy Rodriguez sent a ball across the box, which Danesha Adams was able to put past Sky Blue ‘keeper Kristin Luckenbill to give the Independence a 1-0 lead.  Luckenbill was making her first appearance for the New Jersey side in place of recently named All-Star starting ‘keeper Karen Bardsley.

It took only thirteen minutes for Philadelphia to increase their lead, with the Rodriguez-Adams combination finding the back of the net again in the 18th minute.  This time the two worked in reverse, with Adams sending a ball over the Sky Blue defense to Rodriguez who beat Luckenbill for Philly’s second goal of the match.  It was Rodriguez’ third goal of the season – two more than she had in all of 2009 with the Breakers.  The Independence continued to pressure Sky Blue and in the 24th minute captain Lori Lindsey was able to carry the ball unimpeded through the midfield before taking a shot that went just wide of goal.

Although Sky Blue was unable to build much of an attack through the opening minutes, momentum [temporarily] shifted as the half wore on.  In the 26th minute Rosana played the ball to Heather O’Reilly who sent a cross into the box for Kai.  Kai was taken down in front of the goal and Rosana converted on the ensuing PK, sending a shot past Philadelphia keeper Karina LeBlanc to the upper 90.  The PK was the second in as many matches for Rosana and Sky Blue FC and the tally cut Philly’s lead in half.

Sky Blue looked to find the equalizer and nearly did in the 29th minute, as Kacey White attempted to cross the ball the to Kai who was waiting at the far post, but the Sky Blue striker was beaten to the ball by Independence goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc.  And from there it was Philly’s game.

In the 29th minute Philadelphia was awarded a free kick after a foul on Adams just outside the box.  Lindsey took the kick and although her initial attempt went directly into the Sky Blue wall, she was able to collect the rebound, which she fired just over the crossbar.  In the 40th minute a sequence between Lindsey, Tina DiMartino and Heather Mitts nearly gave the Independence their third goal of the half, but the low shot was stopped by Luckenbill.

Sky Blue would get one more chance before the end of the first frame, this time with India Trotter feeding a ball to Kai in the 41st minute.  LeBlanc, who saw little action in the match, came out to take the ball away from Kai and the half ended with the Indys up 2-1.

Just ten minutes into the second half Philadelphia would increase their lead, this one care of Joanna Lohman.  Luckenbill made a save on a shot by Adams, but the Sky Blue defense failed to clear the rebound and Lohman was able to put the ball into the open net.

In the 74th minute, the Independence delivered the final blow, a goal by Tina DiMartino.  DiMartino caught Luckenbill out of position and was able to chip the ball over the former Boston Breakers ‘keeper and into the net.  For DiMartino, who came to Philly via the fiasco that was St. Louis Athletica, it was her second goal in as many matches.

A frustrated Heather O’Reilly received a yellow card in the 75th minute for contact with LeBlanc and then had the last of Sky Blue’s few chances in stoppage time, but her shot went right at LeBlanc.

“Any time you have a game like this you gotta pull together as a team, you gotta evaluate what’s going on…what you need to improve on and as long as this makes us a better team and we grow from it and we learn from it then…it’ll be a good thing” said Sky Blue newcomer Kendall Fletcher after the match.  “Obviously you never want a score like this, but as long as you take stuff from it then at least it’s not a complete loss.”

“It was flat.  It was just very flat” said Miettinen of her team’s performance.  “We can’t keep the ball.  We’re not supporting each other.  We’re playing as individuals and it’s gonna hurt us…”

*For “Breakout Performance” see: Bardsley, Karen – former backup goalkeeper and now All-Star starter Vs. Atlanta Beat

**For “struggling, forgotten, under-appreciated and/or displaced” see: Rodriguez, Amy; Buczkowski, Jen; Adams, Danesha; LeBlanc, Karina; DiMartino, Tina; Falk, Allison; Mitts, Heather; Lohman, Joanna; Lindsey, Lori

FUN FACTS

When Gina DiMartino came on for Lori Lindsey in the 81st minute, she joined older sister Tina on the field for Philadelphia – marking the first time in WPS history that two sisters have been on the field for the same team at the same time….Tina DiMartino has played two games for Philadelphia, she has scored in both…defender Kendall Fletcher made her first start for Sky Blue FC.  Fletcher was signed as a free agent after St. Louis Athletica folded and had previously appeared for SBFC as a substitute….Sky Blue FC has had a PK in each of the last two matches.  They are the only PKs in club history – Rosana has taken, and scored, on both…Goalkeeper Jenni Branam was listed on Sky Blue’s roster as available for the first time this season after suffering a knee injury in a preseason game – but did not play…Christie Rampone made her first start for Sky Blue FC this season and played the full 90 minutes – Rampone came in as a second half sub in the last two matches after returning from maternity leave….Sky Blue is 0-2-0 all-time against Philadelphia – the Independence are the only team SBFC has never beaten (either regular season or playoffs)…Sky Blue has now scored just two goals at home…Heather O’Reilly’s 75th minute yellow card was the first card of any color in her WPS career…Philadelphia’s four goals ties the record for the most goals by a team in a single game (Sky Blue and Washington played to a 4-4 draw in 2009 – the highest combined score in league history)

MATCH FACTS

Sky Blue FC (4-4-2) vs. Philadelphia Independence (5-3-2)
Saturday, June 19, 2010 — Yurcak Field

SCORING SUMMARY:
PHI: Danesha Adams 1 (Amy Rodriguez) 5′
PHI: Amy Rodriguez 3 (Danesha Adams) 18′
NJ: Rosana 2 (Penalty Kick) 28′
PHI: Joanna Lohman 2 (Danesha Adams) 56′
PHI: Tina DiMartino 2 (Unassisted) 75′

LINEUPS:

SKY BLUE FC — Kristin Luckenbill, India Trotter, Christie Rampone, Brittany Taylor, Meghan Schnur, Kacey White (Keeley Dowling, 62′), Kendall Fletcher (Angela Salem, 72′), Rosana, Yael Averbuch, Heather O’Reilly, Tasha Kai (Kiersten Dallstream, 57′)

Substitutes Not Used: Jenni Branam, Shannon Myers, Katie Schoepfer, Danielle Johnson

PHILADELPHIA INDEPENDENCE — Karina LeBlanc, Heather Mitts, Nikki Krzysik, Allison Falk, Estelle Johnson, Joanna Lohman, Jen Buczkowski, Lori Lindsey (Gina DiMartino, 81′), Tina DiMartino, Danesha Adams (Karina Maruyama, 87′), Amy Rodriguez (Lyndsey Patterson, 78′)

Substitutes Not Used: Val Henderson, Sarah Senty

TEAM STATS:
NJ           PHI

Shots     17     21
Shots on Goal           8     10
Fouls     7     5
Offsides     2     1
Corner Kicks     2     5
Saves     6     7

MISCONDUCT SUMMARY:
NJ: Heather O’Reilly (Caution) 75′

Referee: Daniel Fitzgerald
Referee Assistants: Amy Mahan, Emilie Buse
4th Official:
Attendance: 3362

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