Sky Blue confirmed themselves as playoff contenders by winning their third consecutive match, 1-0 over the Washington Spirit. Rookie Leah Galton scored in the 24th minute for the only goal on an oppressively hot evening at Yurcak Field.
The winning goal came on a quick attack up the left flank that started with goalkeeper Caroline Casey giving the ball to Christie Rampone. Rampone found Erin Simon on the left flank and she put Galton through behind Spirit right back Whitney Church. Galton exploded away from Church, cut toward goal and beat Kelsey Wys with a superb finish.
Church had difficulty with Galton all night and the Spirit midfeld was unable to gain its footing in the first half despite Sky Blue playing without Raquel Rodriguez and Sarah Killion. The second half was a bit better for the Spirit and they nearly tied it after Cheyna Williams beat two defenders to get in the box and Joanna Lohman found herself with inside the six with the ball at her feet. Only a lunging block by Erica Skroski saved the clean sheet and the three points for Sky Blue.
The teams will meet again in a week’s time in Washington in the final match before the Olympic break for both. Sky Blue (6-4-4, 21 pts) will be looking for a fourth straight win and need a draw to clinch the season series from the Spirit (8-3-2, 26 pts).
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