Piscataway, New Jersey — Sometimes the mighty just have to fall.
Sometimes, teams just have an opponent that is their Achilles heel. However, not many in the National Women’s Soccer League world would ever consider Sky Blue FC to be that team. This year, Sky Blue is the Achilles heel to the Chicago Red Stars.
The two sides have faced off twice this season, with the New Jersey-based club capturing two victories. However, when it comes to the bigger picture, the place in the standings is what matters. Right now, if the season were to end, Chicago would make the playoffs and Sky Blue would not.
After last night’s win, though, Sky Blue no longer sits in last place. That spot is currently being held by the Orlando Pride, who still have to play this weekend against the Utah Royals.
However, back to Sky Blue and Chicago. The sides met up for the first time this season back on July 6. The scoreline stayed exactly the same, with two goals for Sky Blue scored by Raquel Rodriguez and Jen Hoy. However, this time, it was Paige Monaghan who was the star of the show.
At Yurcak Field, in front of 2,558 fans, Monaghan scored both goals to give Sky Blue three much-needed points. Monaghan’s goals were the first two of her NWSL career. The rookie was drafted by Sky Blue back in January from Butler University. Monaghan has featured in 17 matches this season, starting 14 games.
Monaghan wasn’t the only star for Sky Blue.
Canadian goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan was almost unstoppable in goal. Despite Sam Kerr scoring in stoppage time of the second half, Sheridan made five saves. She denied big-time shots from Julie Ertz and another three from Kerr. However, Sheridan’s biggest save came against Savannah McCaskill, blocking a tremendously taken free kick from the former Sky Blue player.
If you didn't know @paigeqmonaghan's name before, you definitely do now.
— NWSL (@NWSL) August 15, 2019
What Sky Blue FC said
Talking to Pro Soccer USA after the match, Sky Blue FC goalkeeper coach Hugo Macedo said the team did their homework against Chicago. Macedo is one of the staff members serving as interim head coach.
“I think position wise, the right personnel in the right position [led to a] great performance offensively,” he said to journalist Pardeep Cattry.
Meanwhile, Monaghan said scoring her two goals were awesome. She talked with media, including Front Row Soccer.
“Looking at this season it can be challenging but you have to take it one game one moment at a time,” she said, according to journalist Michael Lewis. “So, it was awesome going up one nothing but unfortunately we let out at a moment when we were tied 1-1. But I knew for my teammates all the work they put in for me I had to do it for them, so it was huge for us and I think it shows that we need to stay fresh on these moments and we can’t turn off any moments because we are not always going to win 2-1 in [stoppage time].”
Chicago's winning streak is no more after late-game drama from @paigeqmonaghan and Sky Blue to seal the victory.
— NWSL (@NWSL) August 15, 2019
Sky Blue FC has a quick turnaround this week. However, they’ll remain in their state to welcome Reign FC to Red Bull Arena. Sky Blue FC general manager Alyse LaHue managed to snag Red Bull Arena for their NWSL match. The contest will be held on Sunday at 1 p.m. EST and will air on ESPNews.
Meanwhile, Chicago will prepare for another mid-week match next Wednesday, hosting the Orlando Pride at 7:30 p.m. EST. Chicago’s loss means they will not make history in earning a sixth-straight win. They have tied their NWSL consecutive win record at five matches.