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Sky Blue FC 2 – 2 Philadelphia Independence

Image: Courtesy Philadelphia Independence

The Independence scored in stoppage time to complete a two goal comeback in the opening game of the season. Tina DiMartino scored in the 91st minute to salvage the draw after Amy Rodriguez scored early in the second half to cut the Sky Blue lead to one.

It was a game of two halves, as Sky Blue were on the front foot for much of the first half and jumped out to a 2-0 lead with goals from Laura Kalmari and Casey Nogueira. Amy Rodriguez’s introduction to start the second half gave Philadelphia new life and they were the team with more purpose as the game wore on.

Philadelphia actually opened the game well before Sky Blue started to assert themselves. Twice Tasha Kai found herself just offside as she tried to get behind Sky Blue’s high back line. Kai, returning to NJ and the team she played with last season, was unfortunate to miss from just six yards as Lori Sanderson played a teasing ball from the right side.

But as both teams settled into the game, it was Sky Blue that started to have the more meaningful possession. At the 18 minute mark Brittany Taylor found room on the right side beyond the Independence defense. She drove into the box and found a streaking Laura Kalmari who finished first time past Nicole Barnhart.

Sky Blue doubled their lead on 36 minutes when Casey Nogueira hit a 30 yard free kick straight into the top corner with Barnhart failing to even move for the ball. The Philadelphia keeper will feel she could have done better with the kick coming in from such distance.

Fresh off of duty with the US Women’s National team, Amy Rodriguez’s introduction to the start the second half completely changed the game for Philadelphia. Immediately the ball was at her feet and she was driving at the Sky Blue defense. The breakthrough came on 57 minutes when the ball was played over the top down the right for Kai. She smartly squared the ball into the path of Rodriguez who took three touches and finished coolly beyond Jenni Branam into the bottom left corner.

Philadelphia continued to push for the equalizer with Rodriguez leading the charge but found the retreating Sky Blue defense difficult to break down. Nogueira had a chance to restore the two goal lead on 70 minutes, but her fierce right footed shot from just outside the box was well saved by Barnhart.

With the clock winding down, it seemed that Philadelphia might run out of time as they continued to create quality chances. Finally, in the 91st minute, it was the diminutive DiMartino who found the ball after a scramble in the box and hit a left footed shot toward goal. The ball deflected on the way through, wrongfooting the keeper Branam and finding the back of the net.

It was a fair result in an exciting game.

Scoring Summary

Team                        1   2            F

Sky Blue                  2   0            2

Philadelphia           0   2            2

Sky Blue – Laura Kalmari (18’; assist by Brittany Taylor)

Sky Blue – Casey Nogueira (free kick)

Philadelphia – Amy Rodriguez (57’; assist by Tasha Kai)

Philadelphia – Christina DiMartino (90’+; assist by Sinead Farrelly)

Player Summary

Sky Blue – Branam, Fletcher (Kerr, 83’), Asante, Taylor, Dew, Long, Sjogran (Heath, 68’), Kalmari (Johnson, 68’), Blank, Aluko, Nogueira

Philadelphia – Barnhart, Robinson, Krzysik, McNeill, Johnson (del Rio, 77’), Buczkowski, C. DiMartino, Farrelly, Lohman (Rodriguez, 45’), Kai, Sanderson (Lindsey, 65’)

2 Comments

  1. I notice a PSP favorite whose name I can’t spell is absent from the team. Any news?

  2. Mike Servedio says:

    No news on Magnusdottir. They didn’t announce the subs bench either.

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