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SkyBlue FC takes first-ever WPS title

oreilly goal muscle
Heather O'Reilly celebrates game-winning goal with Natasha Kai

Paul Martinez / PHOTOSPORT

Press Services

CARSON, CA – August 22, 2009 – The Los Angeles Sol (Women’s Professional Soccer) dropped a 1-0 decision to Sky Blue FC (NJ/NY) in the first-ever WPS Championship presented by MedImmune Saturday afternoon at The Home Depot Center in Carson, California.

     Midfielder Heather O’Reilly opened the scoring for Sky Blue in the 16th minute. Keeley Dowling crossed the ball into the penalty area from the right wing, it was flicked on by Natasha Kai and deflected to O’Reilly; she calmly put it home past Sol goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc.

     It was the first goal for Sky Blue FC against the Sol this season.

     The Sol were reduced to ten players in the 27th minute when rookie defender Allison Falk was shown a red card by referee Kari Seitz for a tackle from behind on Natasha Kai just outside the area.

     Despite being down a player, the Sol nearly equalized a minute later, but Sky Blue ‘keeper Jenni Branam leapt off her line to snag Aya Miyama’s cross and diffuse the threat. The Sol nearly drew even again in the opening stages of the second half when Aly Wagner sent a long, aerial ball into the goalmouth that required Braham to out jump Brittany Bock to catch the ball and keep it out of the net. Despite being undermanned, the hosts continued to push forward throughout the latter stages of the match as Sky Blue FC’s defense, led by player-coach Christie Rampone, thwarted every offensive surge.

     “I’m so proud of this team. Even when we were down a man, we fought until the end and believed we could win this match,” said Captain Shannon Boxx. “We played our hearts out and left everything we had out on the field today. You can’t ask for more from this team. Soccer is a funny game that way and today it just didn’t go our way.”

     The victory meant that Sky Blue FC, which had three coaches during the course of the season, finished 4-1 under Rampone, who took over the coaching duties on July 30 with 10 days left in the season, and captured three consecutive playoff games on the road as the No. 4 seed when the WPS Playoffs began. “I think it’s an exceptional team we have here with Sky Blue FC. I think it was a great fun for us, battling back to make it into the playoffs and winning three games in eight days,” said Rampone. “I think we came out strong, the adrenaline was definitely kicking with us and we went after them and had our legs.”

     “I think the intangibles won that game for us.” said WPS Championship MVP Heather O’Reilly. “You never wish that you go through so may ups and downs that went through this season, but I thin kin the end its character building. I just think the fibers of this team are so close and so that that nothing was going to break us.”

     “It is disappointing to lose this game, it was our goal all season long to win the championship,” said Sol forward Marta. “Soccer is a funny game sometimes and you have to deal with that. As team, though, we should be very proud for what we were able to accomplish all season long.”

 Photo Gallery

allison falk (c) PHOTOSPORT

Falk trips Kai - red card

oreilly goal (c) PHOTOSPORT SkyBlue celebrates
 Photo Gallery

sky blue fc (c) PHOTOSPORT

SkyBlue wins

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