Utah Royals FC come back to tie Sky Blue FC 2-2

Sky Blue FC blew a 2-0 lead in the second half as the Utah Royals came back to force a draw.

Utah Royals FC come back to tie Sky Blue FC 2-2
Amy Rodriguez scores a late goal to earn Utah Royals a draw at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ on August 18, 2018 | Photo: Utah Royals FC
Sky Blue FC
2 2
Utah Royals FC
Sky Blue FC: Sheridan; Tiernan, Frisbie, Richardson, Gibbons; Dorsey (Hoy, min. 85), Killion, Rodriguez, McCaskill; Lloyd, Johnson (Meehan, min. 66)
Utah Royals FC: Barnhart; Moros (Johnson, min. 67), Sauerbrunn, Corsie, Bowen; Jonsdottir, LaBonta, Matheson (Stengel, min. 51); Press, Rodriguez, Tymrak (Lytle, min. 57)
SCORE: 1-0, Johnson, min. 14. 2-0, Johnson, min. 48. 2-1, Richardson (OG), min. 57. 2-2, Rodriguez, min. 90 + 4.

Sky Blue FC continued their winless season in a heartbreaking 2-2 draw against Utah Royals FC. Katie Johnson put Sky Blue up 2-0 before an own goal and a late Amy Rodriguez goal in stoppage time helped the visitors come back. 

Sky Blue, who were so close to their first win of the season, drop to 0-14-5 with five points and stay in last place while Utah continues their run to try and make the playoffs in their first season, moving to 7-7-8 with 29 points, two points out of playoff contention with two games left. 

Sky Blue goes up 2-0

For just the second time this season, and the second time in three matches, Sky Blue earned the lead first. In the 14th minute, Raquel Rodriguez slipped the ball into Johnson who fought off her defender and sent the ball into the back of the net past Nicole Barnhart for her third goal of the season, giving Sky Blue the 1-0 lead which they would keep until halftime. 

Early in the second half, Johnson doubled the lead. After getting the ball out wide, she crossed above the box and tried to slip it through to Imani Dorsey, but the ball was blocked by a Royals defender. However, the rebound landed back at the feet of Johnson who sent a rocket into the back of the net putting Sky Blue up 2-0 in the 48th minute. 

Carli Lloyd with Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ on August 18, 2018 | Photo: NWSLsoccer.com
Carli Lloyd with Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ on August 18, 2018 | Photo: NWSLsoccer.com

Rain delay sparks a comeback

Less than 20 minutes into the second half, lightning caused a delay, smothering the momentum that Sky Blue had built upon. After play returned, Utah pulled a goal back in the 57th minute. Rodriguez’s shot was attempted to be redirected by Katie Stengel, but it bounced off of Sky Blue defender Domi Richardson and into the back of the net to make the score 2-1. 

Utah kept pressing into stoppage time, looking for an equalizer in an important match with potential playoff implications. In the 94th minute, the ball was crossed into the box and bounced around, landing at the feet of Christen Press who passed it up to Rodriguez at the edge of the box. Rodriguez took a shot into the upper left corner, out of the reach of Sky Blue keeper Kailen Sheridan to help earn Utah the tie. 

The goal was controversial, as there were three minutes of stoppage time of the clock and the goal came thirty seconds into the fourth minute but given that the stoppage time is a minimum amount, the controversy doesn’t have as much weight. It was a heartbreaking ending for Sky Blue who were so close to tasting victory for the first time this season. 

Utah and Sky Blue both have midweek games on Wednesday. First, Utah will take on the Washington Spirit on the road with kickoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET. Sky Blue will travel west to face the Portland Thorns with kickoff at 8:00 p.m. PT. Utah will have next weekend off while Sky Blue will travel to take on the Houston Dash Saturday August 25 at 7:30 p.m. CT. All three matches will be streamed on NWSLsoccer.com.