PISCATAWAY, NJ — Courtney Jones converted off Lauren Holiday’s 76th minute corner kick to give FC Kansas City a 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field and extend their league lead.
The match was delayed about two hours as thunderstorms ripped through the area, but many of the 1,302 announced attendance waited it out to see the top of the table battle. The win marks nine straight unbeaten for the Blues and three straight without a win—or a goal—for Sky Blue. The Blues (10-4-5, 35 pts) moved four points clear of Sky Blue who were joined on 31 points (9-5-4) earlier by Portland Thorns FC.
“If you can’t score you’re not going to get any points,” Sky Blue coach Jim Gabarra said. “I thought we played pretty well, we carried most of the play. They’re a difficult team to match up against especially when they have the ball and they get forward with their wide defenders and then they have (Erika) Tymrak and (Lauren Holiday) central. I thought we did a pretty good job defending against them.”
Tymrak and Holiday were mostly contained by a Sky Blue midfield that played its best game in weeks. They were both involved in a key play that helped set up the goal. Kristie Mewis made a strong run down the left flank and dropped it to Tymrak, who kept it alive from her backside after losing footing on the slick pitch. Holiday then stepped to it and launched a shot that forced Brittany Cameron into her best save of the night, a tapper over the bar.
The corner was cleared out and the second corner was finished by Jones, who beat Cameron to it on the back post. Jones had just entered the match for Melissa Henderson and assumed she would be taking Henderson’s place in front of the keeper on corner kicks.
“I was quickly removed from that position,” she joked in a post-match interview on the Sky Blue webcast. “(Holiday) put a perfect ball in. I went in hard. The ball came straight in for me. I saw (Cameron) behind me so I carefully got in front of her and tried not to foul her, and it was a perfect ball.”
Gabarra was not convinced that Jones did not foul his keeper.
“It’s a shame that comes down to kind of a questionable call in such an important game. I’ll have to see it on tape, but it looked like Brit was pushed back or fouled and that’s why she didn’t collect the ball.”
Jones nearly made it 2-0 in the 90th minute when she got in behind and got around Cameron to face an open net. Only a diving stop by rookie Lindsi Lisonbee-Cutshall at the last instant kept it out of the back of goal.
“I just wanted to keep us in the game and whatever it took for me to try and save that ball,” said Lisonbee-Cutshall who made her first professional start at right back on the day of her first wedding anniversary. “A 1-0 lead is a lot different than a 2-0 lead.”
Even with Lisonbee-Cutshall’s heroics Sky Blue could not find the equalizer as they did earlier this season against FC Kansas City. Next up for Sky Blue is a Wednesday trip to Portland. The same goes for Kansas City, who make the trip next Sunday.
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