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Late Dash equalizer extends Sky Blue’s woes

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Hayley Haagsma and Allie Bailey each scored their first professional goals as Sky Blue FC and the Houston Dash played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday at Yurcak Field. The draw extended Sky Blue’s winless streak to a club-record seven matches.

Haagsma opened the scoring for Sky Blue in the 11th minute, heading in a corner kick after Kristin Grubka got her head on it for the first touch.

“I was told I was running front post today so I ran front post,” Haagsma, a 2014 draft pick who missed all of last season with an injury, said. “If the ball goes over my head I was told to frame the goal in case it comes back and it came back at me. I was in the right place at the right time so I did what I had to do.”

Haagsma and Grubka also teamed with Grubka’s center back partner Lindsi Cutshall to produce a beautiful defensive effort for Sky Blue–for the first 75 minutes or so.

“I have to look at the video. I can’t explain it,” Sky Blue coach Jim Gabarra said. “We have to find a way to push through that lack of focus at the end of games. I’ve talked to a couple of players about it. But it’s almost like a mentality and it’s getting ingrained in us. I’m doing everything I can to flush it out.”

Still absent a two-goal game this season, Sky Blue were unable to capitalize on time spent in the Dash’s defensive third through most of the 1st half and a good part of the 2nd. The visitors though began to make a push with Coach Randy Waldrum switching to a 3-4-3 in an effort to find an equalizer.

Dash keeper Brittany Cameron came up big twice, first tipping Brittany Bock’s header over up and off the crossbar, and later diving right to save a penalty by Jessica McDonald. Everyone expected Rachael Axon to take the spot kick, but the midfielder demurred, not wanting to take it after being the player fouled in the box. McDonald volunteered but telegraphed her shot for Cameron.

Sky Blue finally cracked in the 86th minute. Cameron got a touch on Kealia Ohai’s cross but it went to amateur callup Bailey who followed up the play on the weak side and made the finish not long after checking in for Bock.

“I think it deflected off either their goalie or a defender and came right to me. So I just tapped it in. It’s definitely awesome to get my first goal in this league,” Bailey, who has been training with the Dash since preseason said. “I’ve been working so hard to get myself to be able to compete in this league so it’s really exciting.

The Dash (2-2-3, 9 pts) moved to 5th on the table and will host the Thorns on Saturday night. Sky Blue (1-3-4, 7 pts) are level with the Flash but still bottom of the table on tiebreakers with a trip to Seattle looming on Saturday. The World Cup break follows next Saturday’s matches.


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