Sky Blue FC traveled to Houston in this week 15 of the National Women's Soccer League. This match was the last one of a series of five matches played this week and was played at the BBVA Compass Stadium.
Sky Blue also played on Wednesday and suffered a defeat against Washington Spirit for 1-0. The club comes from two defeats with the same result and went to Houston in search for a victory.
Rachel Daly is back
If we talk about important players for Houston, we need to name the English international Rachel Daly. The player adds something unique to this team and her grit is contagious.
So much so that she was a dangerous presence very early in the match for the Sky Blue defence up top.
At minute 3, Daly had her first chance: a cross to Kealia Ohai and then a pass from the captain to the English forward gave her the opportunity to shot but the post denied her the opportunity to score early in the match.
Ten minutes later she broke Sky Blue’s defence and shot to the second post but Kailen Sheridan stopped the ball, Sofia Huerta came running at top speed and connected with the ball but sent it over the bar.
But the New Jersey club has its main star back and her presence was felt in the first half. Like in the 20th minute when Carli Lloyd out paced the defence and shot but put to much on it and sent it way over the bar.
The goal came in minute 22. A combination between Huerta and Daly gave the hosts the lead. After the a great pass from Huerta, the forward run at top speed and could face Sheridan alone in the box. Her powerful shot left the keeper unable to stop that ball.
Carli Lloyd almost equalises at the 25th minute. Lloyd sent a shot to the second post but the ball ended up out of bounce, kissing the post.
Possession but unclear ideas
Sky Blue started to gain more possession of the ball and the end of the first half and in the second half but to no avail. We could see that Houston left the New Jersey club to control the ball but closed the spaces in between their lines and that gave the visitors few chances to create danger in the third end.
Paige Monaghan was the only Sky Blue player that shot to Jane Campbell’s goal but the ball went out a bounce, near the first post.
Houston waited and let their rivals play with the ball in their side of the field but cut circulation as soon as they passed midfield. And although they waited, when they attacked they looked dangerous and with a purpose. For example, in the 78th minute a curling ball inside the six found Kristie Mewis, who headed the ball and hit the crossbar nearly scoring the second goal of the match.
And in the 85th minute, Huerta run at full speed on the right wing and even had time to choose where to shot but took a second more and ended up hitting the ball with a tough angle and waste the opportunity.
What comes next
The final result was 1-0 and that was enough to collect the three points Houston wanted to reap at home, making this their second win at their stadium. Next Friday they will how Reign FC, who had a tough match against the Chicago Red Stars this week.
Sky Blue, in the other hand, will lose Raquel Rodriguez for the next matches due to Pan-American Games. Her national team, Costa Rica, is already at Lima, Peru, and played one match in the competition so the forward will go there to help them try to win a medal. We’ll see how they do when they face Portland in a few days.