Sky Blue FC earned its largest-ever margin of victory on Saturday with a 3-0 win over the Atlanta Beat at Yurcak Field. Laura Kalmari, Allie Long and Heather O’Reilly all scored in Sky Blue FC’s first win of the 2011 season.
Kalmari opened the scoring in the 23rd minute on a Casey Nogueira corner kick. Nogueira played a low ball into the box that Sky Blue FC forward Adriana dummied past her and Kalmari ran onto it and put it into the upper corner of the near post to make it 1-0 in favor of Sky Blue FC.
Ten minutes later, O’Reilly replaced Kalmari. Sky Blue FC Head Coach Jim Gabarra said Kalmari had trouble breathing and was taken out as a precaution. O’Reilly instantly changed the speed of Sky Blue FC’s attack, but the score remained 1-0 at the half.
Spanish striker Adriana, who scored one minute into her debut two weeks ago, changed the game in the 56th minute with a driven shot that smacked off of the bottom of the crossbar. It looked like the ball crossed the line, but play went on and the ball fell to Allie Long. With Long’s back to goal, Atlanta defender Analisa Marquez tackled Long and conceded a penalty kick. Long stepped up and buried the kick from the spot to give Sky Blue FC a 2-0 advantage.
O’Reilly then put the icing on the cake in the 70th minute. Eniola Aluko played a ball over the top and O’Reilly out-ran the Atlanta defense. Beat goalkeeper Alli Lipsher hesitated before finally coming off of her line and out toward the sideline, but O’Reilly beat Lipsher to the ball and tapped it into the open net.
“I pride myself on bringing the intangibles every single day – to training, to games, I try to bring my work ethic, my discipline, my positivity – all those things,” O’Reilly said. “And you know, sometimes goals come and sometimes they don’t come. There’s been times where I’ve struggled to score in the past year, so I think that things are just coming together at the right time for me and I’ll continue to just keep working on different stuff.”
Sky Blue FC (1-3-1, 4 pts.) picked up its first win of the season at the beginning of a stretch that includes four out of five games at home. Atlanta (1-5-1, 4 pts.) now falls into a tie for last place with Sky Blue FC.
“We really needed it,” Gabarra said. “I thought we played pretty consistent and it’s good to get a couple of goals and get some confidence.”
Beat Head Coach James Galanis said there was not a complete team effort on the evening.
“Not good enough, really,” Galanis said. “Had too many players that weren’t mentally prepared to compete. We had too many players that were reacting rather than anticipating and that is what hurt us. In general, that was the problem. I think four or five of our players weren’t good enough and it hurt us.”
A major point of concern for Atlanta was the removal of captain midfielder Lori Chalupny at halftime. Galanis said “she got a knock on her thigh and she couldn’t continue.” Her long-term status is still unknown, but Galanis said Chalupny told him that she did not want to push the injury in the second half.
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