July 24, 2011

Sky Blue Stops Independence Streak at Six

Philadelphia's six-game winning streak came to end on Saturday evening as Sky Blue defeated the Independence 2-0 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Casey Nogueira scored both goals for the victorious hosts.

As has been the case of most recent matches, several players returning from World Cup action did not start this match. Amy Rodriguez and Lori Lindsey started the match on the bench for Philly, as did Tobin Heath for Sky Blue. Philadelphia coach Paul Riley elected to go with the hot goalkeeper and started Val Henderson over Nicole Barnhart. Meanwhile, USWNT midfielder Heather O'Reilly was in the starting lineup for New Jersey.

After a scoreless first half, Adriana nearly put Sky Blue on top in the 61st minute, but her free kick struck the post.

But it was Nogueira, who came on at halftime for Eni Aluko, that provided the scoring. She scored her first goal of the match on a feed from Adriana in the 71th minute to put Sky Blue on top 1-0. She completed the brace just 10 minutes later, with Therese Sjogran getting the assist. For Nogueira, it was her 4th and 5th goals of the season.

Jen Branam picked up the shutout for Sky Blue, while Henderson suffered her first loss of the year in goal.

The loss means that Philadelphia could fall out of first place, pending the outcome of the Western New York-Boston match on Sunday. The Independence have a slim one-point lead heading into that action. Sky Blue improves their record to 4-5-4 and moves into a tie for third place with magicJack.

With just four games remaining on their schedule, the Independence will travel to Boston to meat the Breakers in a Wednesday night match. Sky Blue heads to Florida where they will play a crucial Wednesday night game againt magicJack in a battle for third place.