Coming into their match against the Boston Breakers, Sky Blue FC was tied at the top of the table and on a four match shutout streak. The Breakers were coming in off their first shutout of the season and looking to start a streak of their own.
With both teams without key pieces of their lineups due to Sunday’s USWNT vs CANWNT friendly, it was anyone’s match to win and Sky Blue FC was the first to strike, just seven minutes into the match.
Sky Blue FC defender Caitlin Foord gained possession of the ball around midfield and made a run towards the box where she placed a perfect pass to Lisa De Vanna to the right of goal. De Vanna made a couple moves, including a fake that took her defender down, and laid the ball off to a streaking Danesha Adams who slid the ball past Breakers goalkeeper Ashley Phillips to give Sky Blue FC a 1-0 lead.
The goal of the night (and probably of the season so far) came in the 14th minute as Sky Blue FC midfielder Katy Freels chipped the ball over the Breakers defense and found De Vanna for a spectacular bicycle kick that Phillips could only watch go into the back of the net and put Sky Blue FC up 2-0.
“I was a bit overwhelmed and shocked about it,” De Vanna said after the match. “I didn’t even realize it went into the goal until I saw Danesha’s face, and she looked so surprised. Then I just looked up and saw it go into the back of the net. I was just thinking ’Wow, I just pulled off something fantastic!’”
Just three minutes later, Sky Blue FC’s Taylor Lytle found the back of the net to make it 3-0 in favor of Sky Blue FC. The goal was Lytle’s third in the last four matches.
De Vanna notched her second goal of the match in the 56th minute after Adams flicked on a goal kick by goalkeeper Brittany Cameron and found De Vanna racing towards goal. De Vanna dribbled around Phillips and easily put the ball into the net to give Sky Blue FC a four goal lead.
The Breakers finally got on the board in the 75th minute, ending Sky Blue FC and Brittany Cameron’s franchise-record 435-minute shutout streak. Breakers forward Lianne Sanderson took a shot on goal from inside the penalty area but Cameron got her fingertips on it and deflected it away, but not far enough. Kyah Simon was able to get the rebound and pull the Breakers to within three goals.
Sky Blue FC got on the board again, this time in the 84th minute on a penalty kick converted by Adams, Sky Blue FC’s fifth goal of the match and Adams second.
Cameron was subbed out in the 90th minute to a standing ovation and replaced by Ashley Baker.
Three minutes into stoppage time Baker was put to the test after Simon was taken down in the box for a penalty kick. Sanderson took the kick and sent it to the right side of the frame but Baker was there to make the diving save.
“We brought Ashley into the match because we saw it as a good chance for her to get some time. I certainly didn’t expect her to have to step up and save a penalty kick, though,” Sky Blue FC head coach Jim Gabarra said after the match. “It was a great moment for her to shine, which she clearly did. It was a true reward for her hard work and the effort she has been giving in training.”
With the win Sky Blue FC moved into sole possession of first place in the NWSL after the Portland Thorns FC lost their match to the Chicago Red Stars earlier in the day. Next up for Sky Blue FC is a match against the Western New York Flash, the only team to beat them this year, on Saturday evening at 7:00pm EDT.
The Breakers remained in third place after the loss and have a quick turnaround as they host the Flash on Wednesday night.
Watch the full replay: