PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Monica Ocampo played heroine again for Sky Blue FC, scoring the only goal on a rebound in the 74th minute to beat the Washington Spirit 1-0 on a toasty evening at Yurcak Field in front of 1,322 fans. The result assures Sky Blue (9-3-3, 30 pts.) of waking up Sunday still atop the NWSL table. The Spirit (1-8-4, 7 pts.) will remain at the bottom having now played seven-straight matches without a victory.
“It wasn’t like we were knocking on the door all day,” Sky Blue coach Jim Gabarra said after what was a slow-paced game on both sides. “It seemed like we would do well until the final pass or the final product wasn’t enough to get it in there. It was a good time for a goal.”
Sky Blue had not created all that many chances at the point Katy Freels played a clean ball forward to Danesha Adams. Moved back up from the right back slot she featured in a week ago, Adams took one touch and then fired a mighty shot that was blocked by Candace Chapman and fell to Ocampo. The Mexican took one touch between Chapman and Ali Krieger and then scored her 5th goal of the season.
“It felt good off my foot,” Adams said. “Monny, right place right time again.”
Ocampo has now scored in the last four matches in which she appeared. She did, however, leave the match immediately and was seen post match with a sling on her right shoulder.
Sky Blue’s best prior chance came at the hour mark when Kelley O’Hara got in on Ashlyn Harris and fired the shot wide of the far post. O’Hara had missed the team’s match last weekend in Boston after aggravating her ankle.
“I hadn’t even anticipated playing Kelley to be honest, but we had to,” Gabarra said. Although her goal-scoring drought is intact O’Hara did good work on both ends of the field, including a sequence late in the match when she burned off time by keeping possession with four defenders near her and no Sky Blue teammates in sight.
The Spirit, in their second game under Mark Parsons, were the more dangerous of the sides up to the hour mark. Their best chance was 25 minutes in. Chapman played a direct ball to Conny Pohlers for a one-on-one with Brittany Cameron. The keeper came out and stuffed Pohlers, whose first touch was a bit hard. Five minutes earlier Pohlers found Diana Matheson at the top of the 18 but she did not get enough leg into the shot.
“The first half I think we had more opportunities, we had more shots. However we didn’t create them,” Parsons said. “I think both teams struggled with the heat. Both teams were making mistakes. We looked the most dangerous, but it wasn’t from us doing good stuff.”
Parsons took over the Spirit last Sunday and coached them in a 1-1 home draw to FC Kansas City on Wednesday. Saturday they were up against a team that had five full days off. “The two games in the four days have been tough. I feel we went in after seeing the first half and not nicking a goal there, with the minutes that key players played on Wednesday, coming out in the second half was going to be extremely tough and we were going to have to ride our luck a little bit.
“I don’t think we stepped backwards, (I) think we just stood still from Wednesday. If we’re a bit better I thought we could have nicked a goal or two. And I’m not talking about the opportunities we were given. I’m talking about on the ball. We didn’t get moving it in the way we wanted to.”
Washington lost Colleen Williams to a knee injury in the 4th minute. Asked about the injury, Parsons said “I know as much as you do which is that it doesn’t look good.”
The Spirit are back at it Wednesday at home against the Chicago Red Stars. Sky Blue play next Saturday at Yurcak against the Breakers.
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