Sky Blue FC took on the Western New York Flash in a match that was dominated by the goalkeepers as they faced a demanding 90 minutes. Neither team's defense deserves much credit (Caitlin Foord aside) as their efforts could not match the solo displays shown by both keepers. In a match that left Sky Blue with the 1-0 lead, Brittany Cameron and Adrianna Franch deserved all the glory, between them blocking nearly everything that came their way, including 40 yard strikes, penalty kicks and in-box headers.
The first half saw the Flash on top, putting prolonged pressure on the home side's defence. That pressure frustrated Blues defender Coco Goodson, who in the 16th minute of play took down the Flash's play-maker Veronica Perez in the box, handing the visitors a penalty kick, one of four golden opportunities presented to the Flash on the night. The spot kick was taken by forward Adriana Martin but Cameron kept the Blues hopes alive as she deflected the shot.
The opening for Sky Blue came in the 42nd minute from a corner kick. Danesha Adams lobbed a cross into the box which was lost among the crowd of players, eventually bouncing off a member of the Flash -- McCall Zerboni, probably -- and found the back of the net. Following the start of the second half the play picked up its pace as the Flash sought the equalizer.
Sky Blue, however, had the most scoring opportunities with Lisa De Vanna, Caitlin Foord and Kelley O'Hara trying to find the back of the net on several occasions after the break. Caitlin Foord came close to expanding the Blues' lead in the 60th minute as she picked up a pass from Sophie Schmidt and played it up the field, taking a touch to control the ball and sending in a curling strike that sailed slightly above the crossbar. De Vanna slid passed the defenders on two separate occasions, both times firing in a low strike -- Franch was up to each test, though. Later on in the match Kelley O'Hara ripped through the space time continuum as she sent a powerful 40 yard strike on target, only for Franch to pluck the thunderbolt out of the air and hold on.
Throughout the second half Wambach appeared frustrated and played viciously causing a worrisome collision with Brittany Bock, who appeared distraught from the head-to-head collision with Wambach. In addition, Bock took a nasty knock in the first half which shook her up but she soldiered on for the SBFC midfield.
For future matches Sky Blue should consider giving O'Hara a set of games where she plays in the same position. Altering her position in each fixture will cause inconsistencies in her regularly stellar performances. She isn't Boggle, and one can't expect her to fall into place with every new position she is allocated.
These early stages in the league are crucial for teams to determine where players are most effective. This match demonstrated that O'Hara needs to play as a forward and that Kendall Johnson needs to be seated as a left back. O'Hara is a phenomenal defender but her strengths lie in scoring. Fellow SBFC forward Danesha Adams is dispossessed easily on the ball. Caitlin Foord needs to secure her position as a right-back because she is a driving force that creates scoring opportunities for the team. In a crucial moment which saw McCall Zerboni make a nice run up the field to the Blues box, Foord read the play and cut out a pass meant for Wambach who was sitting in the box.
Wambach's final chance to equalize came in stoppage time when Goodson attempted to control the ball only to fall on top of it. The ball was loose on the field as Cameron failed to grasp at it. Wambach couldn't set the ball on target with the net gaping.
The Flash have a gem with Adrianna Franch; her performance was unfaltering as she remained composed and read each play superbly. Their playmaker Angela Perez is vital for their squad, but their defense is weak without the midfield support of Angela Salem.
To all the fans that watched the game, followed the live tweets, you should congratulate yourselves because you are now all a part of NWSL history -- Sky Blue have become the first ever NWSL club to log a victory.