Sky Blue FC (0-0-2) (W-D-L) suffered a heartbreaking home opening loss on Saturday night against the Houston Dash (1-1-0). SBFC, who had the worst season in league history last year, has now started the 2019 National Women's Soccer League regular season with two losses. The 1-0 win for Houston on the road probably should have been easier, but they finally found the back of the net in the 83rd minute of the match.
Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan did everything she could to keep her team in the match as she tallied ten saves, but that was one short of earning the clean sheet. On the other side of the pitch, Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell expertly controlled her penalty area for most of the match and got a bit lucky when SBFC striker Carli Lloyd hit the post with her early PK attempt.
Houston controlled the match, but Sky Blue had chances
It would be disingenuous to suggest that Houston didn't earn the win with their on-field performance. They controlled 55% of the possession and put 11 shots on goal to just 1 for Sky Blue.
Their dominance started early, with a flurry of offensive opportunities in the first 15 minutes of the game. The game calmed down after that, but in the 26th minute a penalty was given for Sky Blue FC.
Lloyd was taken down in the box by a Houston defender in the 26th minute. The wait before the penalty was unusually long, and when Lloyd finally got the go-ahead to take the shot she put it wide left and out of the frame of goal. The penalty kick was Sky Blue's only scoring opportunity in the first half.
As the game wore on, it felt like Houston was getting closer and closer to a goal. Sheridan was able to stop Dash forward Rachel Daly from scoring at close range on two occasions, but the third would end the stalemate.
In the 83rd minute, Daly once again found herself in behind the Sky Blue defense and faced up against Sheridan. Daly took the shot, but Sheridan was able to block it. With the defenders trying to retreat towards goal, Dash midfielder Sofia Huerta took a shot from the top of the box. Sheridan was recovering and had good positioning near the center of goal, but Huerta's shot bounced off the leg of a Sky Blue defender and ended up in the back of the net. It wasn't the cleanest goal, but it put Houston ahead.
Sky Blue FC tried to open up the attack a little more after the goal, with rookie Paige Monaghan playing especially well on the left side of the pitch, but it wouldn't be enough and Sky Blue would remain goalless in 2019.