Sky Blue and Spirit settle for a scoreless draw
The Spirit defeated Sky Blue in their first meeting this season
Duke alum Imani Dorsey was signed as a national team replacement player for Sky Blue FC. (Photo credit: Howard C. Smith/
Duke alum Imani Dorsey was signed as a national team replacement player for Sky Blue FC. (Photo credit: Howard C. Smith/

Sky Blue FC and the Washington Spirit played to a 0-0 draw at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey on Friday night.

While the rest of the league remains off for the international break, Sky Blue earned one point at home and remain in last place in the league standings with a 0-8-2 overall record (2 points). The Spirit, in second to last place in the standings, earned their third draw of the season and are now 2-7-3 (9 points).

Sky Blue FC remains in pursuit of their first win of the season, second only to the 2013 Seattle Reign for the longest winless start to a season (11 games).

The last time the two teams met it was the Spirit that outlasted Sky Blue Blue 1-0. This time around looked differently in personnel without several of typical starters due to international duty. Sky Blue were without six players: Janine Beckie (CAN), Adriana Leon (CAN), Carli Lloyd (USA), Savannah McCaskill (USA), Thaisa Moreno (BRA), Rebekah Stott (NZL) and the Spirit were without four: Yanara Aedo (CHI), Rose Lavelle (USA), Francisca Ordega (NGA), Rebecca Quinn (CAN). On Friday morning the Spirit announced that forward Mallory Pugh will be out for the next 8-10 weeks after suffering a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) sprain in her right knee.

The first half was a scramble on each side. Niether Sky Blue nor the Spirit could find the back of the net and both teams struggle to take control of the game.

In the 12th minute, Spirit defender Whitney Church made a big step for her team and found midfielder Estefanía Banini down the flank. Banini did a cheeky inside-out move and shot far post. Her shot went high past Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan.

The game was scoreless at the break with Sky Blue taking five shots with one on target and the Spirit recording four shots with two on target.

The final 45 looked like a match featuring two teams in desperate need of three points. Sky Blue had two back-to-back chances with the first sparked by a nutmeg from forward Mackenzie Meehan. Meehan, after successfully nutmegging played it out wide to midfielder Madison Tiernan who was able to get the service off into the box. Katie Johnson was in a good position in the box but wasn’t able to put it away.

In the 54th minute it looked like Sky Blue FC forward Shea Groom would get her team on the board. Groom was played into space by midfielder Sarah Killion and used her speed to beat the Spirit’s backline. Groom once she got herself to the touchline slotted it back to Johnson who was crashing but the pass went out of Johnson’s reach.

Groom finished the game with six shots (two on target) and Johnson finished with three shots (one on target).

In the 78th minute Banini drew a foul in the penalty area and midfielder Andi Sullivan stepped up to take the PK. Sullivan shot low right and Sheridan guessed right and made the save.

The latter of the second half looked like Sky Blue would snap their winless streak, yet the Spirit’s backline in Estelle Johnson and goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe held their ground to come away with a point on the road.

Johnson had a team-high eight clearances on the night and also made three interceptions and four blocks. Bledsoe had seven saves on the night. Sky Blue finished the game with 20 total shots to the Spirit’s 11, however the visitors had the better of the possession on the night with 55.3% to Sky Blue’s 46.3%.

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