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Long penalty earns Portland late point at Sky Blue

Christie Rampone scored her first pro club goal in Sky Blue FC's 1-1 draw with Portland Thorns FC on Saturday. (Photo Copyright Todd Green/Sky Blue FC)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — A late Allie Long penalty kick was enough to salvage a 1-1 draw for Portland Thorns FC against Sky Blue FC on Saturday at Yurcak Field.

Long finished the spot kick in the 75th minute after Sky Blue defender Kelley O’Hara was whistled for an inadvertent handball in the box.

O’Hara missed a PK of her own in second-half stoppage time, flashing the shot wide of Thorns goalkeeper Nadine Angerer’s right post. O’Hara earned the penalty after hitting the ball into Thorns defender Nikki Marshall’s hands. Sky Blue FC coach Jim Gabarra said Sophie Schmidt or Katy Freels would usually take penalty kicks, but O’Hara was eager to step up to the spot.

“Kelley’s really not our penalty kick taker, but I think she was anxious to redeem herself from the first penalty, and she created that one,” he said.

Christie Rampone opened the scoring in the 26th minute on a rebound off the post, with the ball hitting Rampone more than she hit the ball. Freels hit a right-footed, in-swinging corner kick and Schmidt flicked the ball on to the back post, which it bounced off of and then hit Rampone to deflect into the net to give Sky Blue FC a 1-0 lead.

The goal was Rampone’s first in her professional club career, which spans three WUSA seasons (2001-03), three WPS seasons (2009-11) and NWSL last year.

“It kind of just hit off me and went in. It was a fun moment, but then it was back to business,” she said.

Portland certainly had its opportunities, with the best look on goal in the first half coming for Jessica McDonald in the 15th minute. Rebecca Moros lofted a through ball to put McDonald in behind alone against Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Jill Loyden, but McDonald’s shot was right at Loyden, who parried it away.

McDonald had a golden opportunity in the 63rd minute when she was unmarked from 12 yards out, but she hit Courtney Niemiec’s cross over the bar.

“It was a decent result for us on the road coming off of last week’s performance,” Thorns coach Paul Riley. “I thought it was a much better performance than last week. We played some great football in the second half and deserved to win the game in the end.”

Lineups

Sky Blue FC Starting XI: Loyden, Foord, Rampone (C), Levin, Freels, Goodson, Johnson, Kiryu, O’Hara, Schmidt, Hayes

Portland Thorns FC Starting XI: Angerer; Marshall, Menges, Moros, Niemiec; Brooks, Farrelly, Long, Shim; Sinclair (c), McDonald

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