Sky Blue FC closed their 2017 season by authoring another wild comeback to edge the Breakers 4-3 at Jordan Field. Kelley O’Hara won it with a goal in the 87th minute but it was the goal that started to that made history. After Natasha Dowie’s double put the Breakers ahead, 2-0, Sam Kerr volleyed home a Maya Hayes pass for her 17th goal of the season to stand alone as the single season record holder. Kim Little had previously netted 16 for Seattle Reign FC in 2014.
Sky Blue also won from two goals down for the third time this season, an accomplishment done only once in a 90-minute game over the first four seasons of NWSL. They also earned a draw against the Red Stars after trailing 2-0. The Breakers escaped last place despite the loss as the Washington Spirit also blew a 2-0 lead at home, losing 3-2 to the Reign and finishing last on head-to-head against the Breakers.
The early part of the match belonged to Dowie who scored in the 25th minute and again in the 28th. The first goal came when Midge Purce’s cross eluded Sky Blue keeper Caroline Casey and Dowie snuck in behind for an easy header. The second came after the Breakers overloaded the left side and found space for Tiffany Weimer to send a free cross. Casey decided to stay on her line and Dowie beat Mandy Freeman to dash in front of the keeper and double up the lead.
Kerr set the record on 34 minutes thanks to the Breakers allowing too much space for Erica Skroski to dribble up the left flank. Hayes got the ball next and was also given too much space. Kerr was reasonably well marked by Allysha Chapman but was able to finish with a world class, right-footed volley.
The Breakers came out as the more aggressive side after halftime but the score remained 2-1 until a frantic, final 15 minutes. Second half sub Madison Tiernan knotted the score in the 76th minute after fielding a switch-point cross by Kelley O’Hara. Tieran got the better of Purce and then beat Abby Smith as the keeper angled over to cover the near post.
Two minutes later, McKenzie Meehan won a free kick in the left corner. Taylor Lytle drove it to the far post and Skroski muscled her way through Amanda Frisbie to get a toe on it to put Sky Blue in front.
Five minutes from time, Chioma Onumonu sent a probing ball that challenged Casey who attempted to punch it but wound up playing it into her own net. The official scoring charged Casey with an own goal.
Sky Blue applied the final dagger in the 87th minute on a play that again started with Skroski dribbling unmarked into the attacking third. Skroski played it wide left for Leah Galton who beat Purce endline and sent a cross that went all the way beyond the far post. That’s where O’Hara met it and served it back to the opposite post for the game-winner.
Sky Blue (10-11-3, 33 pts) finish the season having earned 10 of their 33 points from a position of two goals in a rears. They will finish 6th with FC Kansas City unable to catch them on Sunday. The Breakers (4-13-7, 19 pts) finish the season 9th of 10, ending a streak of two seasons on the bottom and three seasons in which the only team they finished above was a first-year expansion club.
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