Rodriguez Game-Winner Leads Sky Blue FC Past West Virginia
Manalapan, N.J. - Sky Blue FC continued its 2018 National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) preseason schedule on Saturday, playing West Virginia University at Sportika Sports in Manalapan, N.J. The game-winner of this contest came in the 29th minute, with Sky Blue FC midfielder Raquel Rodriguez converting a penalty kick opportunity.
"West Virginia was a really good team for us to meet. They were well organized, and they are extremely physical," said Denise Reddy, Sky Blue FC head coach. "Going against a team that switches from high-press to low-press and can play out of the back or go direct gives us a good picture of how an NWSL team will play."
Sky Blue FC almost grabbed an early advantage in the 7th minute of this fixture, as McKenzie Meehan and Katie Johnson worked a give-and-go that resulted in a Meehan blast going just high of the crossbar. Shea Groom was also a constant creator for the Sky Blue FC attack, and she nearly set up the go-ahead tally in the 25th minute after shaking a defender and delivering a ball across the mouth of the frame. On the receiving end of that distribution was Jen Hoy, who saw her header go just wide of the near post.
The deadlock was eventually broken in the 29th minute when Meehan sent a ball into the area for Rodriguez, who was taken down inside the box for a Sky Blue FC penalty kick. Rodriguez handled the ensuing responsibility herself, and the Costa Rica international scored the penalty try to give her team a 1-0 advantage.
Another addition to the Sky Blue FC lineup today was Brazil international Thaisa Moreno, who maintained an active presence in the middle of the field for her new club. She had a particularly strong connection with Rodriguez, as the duo orchestrated some dangerous runs that nearly saw Sky Blue FC stretch its lead before halftime.
Sky Blue FC continued to threaten offensively in the second half, but a solid performance by West Virginia netminder Rylee Foster kept the score line at 1-0 throughout the second portion of play. When the final whistle was blown, that 1-0 tally in favor of Sky Blue FC became the final result.
Recording the clean slate this afternoon for Sky Blue FC was goalkeeper Caroline Casey, who played the full 90 minutes of action.
"We did a good job today of finding the seams, and there were a bunch of times that we went into the attack with numbers," said Reddy. "Now, we just need to put the final pieces together on making the right decisions and making the proper run at the proper time. We did well defensively, both in our high-press and low-press, and I was happy overall with our performance."
Sky Blue FC will conclude its preseason schedule when it welcomes St. John's University into Sportika Sports for a 2:00 p.m. kickoff next Sunday, March 18. All Sky Blue FC preseason matches are open to the public, and admission to attend is free. Sportika Sports, which is the presenting sponsor of the 2018 Sky Blue FC Preseason, is located at 150 Woodward Road in Manalapan, N.J.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Sky Blue FC vs. West Virginia University
Date: March 10, 2018
Venue: Sportika Sports; Manalapan, New Jersey
NJ: 1 | 0 - 1
WVU: 0 | 0 - 0
29 NJ Raquel Rodriguez (Penalty Kick)
Starting XI: Casey, Flores, Fiebernitz, Freeman, Gibbons, Thaisa, Meehan, Rodriguez, Hoy, Johnson, Groom
Substitutes: Gunion, Mills, Simon, Conheeney, Skroski, Benintente, Richardson, Pierre-Louis, Palacios, Abam
Head Coach: Denise Reddy
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National Women's Soccer League Stories from March 10, 2018
- Washington Spirit Plays University of North Carolina to 1-1 Draw in Preseason Opener - Washington Spirit
- Houston Dash Announce Roster Moves Prior to Thorns Spring Invitational - Houston Dash
- Rodriguez Game-Winner Leads Sky Blue FC Past West Virginia - Sky Blue FC
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