O'Reilly's Early Corner Kick Goal Propels Sky Blue FC Past Breakers
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - With every game crucial to its playoff hopes, Sky Blue FC will take a game-winning goal any way it can get it. Heather O'Reilly scored directly off a corner kick in the sixth minute and Jenni Branam backed a strong defensive effort in goal as Sky Blue FC held on for a 1-0 victory over the Boston Breakers in front of 1,878 fans at Yurcak Field.
With the win, Sky Blue FC improves to 4-6-3 for 15 points and moves into fifth place in the standings. The Breakers drop to 5-5-3 for 18 points and remain in second place. Saint Louis Athletica (5-5-2 for 17 points) and the Washington Freedom (4-5-4 for 16 points) hold the two positions in between Sky Blue FC and Boston.
"Obviously it was a little bit of a lucky goal for us, but at the same time I think that we created enough chances that we deserved a goal today," said Sky Blue FC head coach Kelly Lindsey. "It's not necessarily the way we mapped it out in practice, but we'll gladly take it."
The day started out on a fortunate note for Sky Blue FC when O'Reilly bent a corner kick from the left side toward the goal. Breakers goalkeeper Alli Lipsher got her hands on the ball but it dropped over the line giving O'Reilly her second goal of the season.
"I can't say that I meant to bend that in on goal - but if you create chances, good things will happen," O'Reilly said. "We did a good job of earning that corner kick, and luck was on our side today. We've been missing out on good fortune all season - maybe the tide has turned."
Sky Blue FC held a 13-12 advantage in shots and Branam was stellar in goal with five saves to register her fourth shutout of the season.
Boston nearly answered O'Reilly's fortuitous corner kick in the 20th minute, but Christine Latham's header off service from Kelly Smith barely missed the right post.
Sky Blue FC had the better chances in the later stages of the opening half. In the 32nd minute, Kacey White played a nice through ball to Rosana but Lipsher came off her line well to stuff the Brazilian's chance. Three minutes later, Collette McCallum curled a 22-yard left-footed shot over Lipsher but off the front of the crossbar.
In the 40th minute, McCallum ran onto a cross from White but her close-range effort was deflected by Nancy Augustyniak-Goffi and then touched wide by Lipsher.
In the second half, the Breakers came up with two good chances back-to-back in the 73rd minute. Smith fed Amy Rodriguez in the box, but Branam was there to make a diving stop on her shot from 12 yards out. Moments later, Smith buzzed a shot past the right post from outside the box.
Sky Blue FC had a couple of opportunities of its own four minutes later. Lipsher came up big to stuff White and then held on to a blast from distance by McCallum.
The last good chance of the game went to Boston as substitute Jenny Nobis ran onto a long ball behind the Sky Blue FC backs and cut past a defender in the box, but her shot was knocked away by a diving Branam.
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Women's Professional Soccer Stories from July 4, 2009
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