PISCATAWAY N.J. –Kelley O’Hara had an opportunity to give her team the go-ahead goal in stoppage time after Nikki Marshall was whistled for a handball . O’Hara hammered her right-footed penalty kick wide left for the match to end in a 1-1 draw.
The Portland Thorns drew level in the 75th minute to spoil Sky Blue FC’s home opener after a handball in the box by O’Hara. Allie Long stepped up and put her right-footed shot past Loyden to equalize.
Defender Christie Rampone netted her first-career professional goal in the 26th minute to give Sky Blue FC the lead.
Katy Freels put a ball in that Schmidt got a head on to flick past Angerer. The ball pinged off the right post before bouncing off Christie Rampone’s foot and trickling into the net.
It was the first professional goal for Rampone whose career has spanned eight seasons in three different leagues over 13 years.
Japanese midfielder Nanase Kiryu created the corner kick when she played a low cross in that found Canadian midfielder Sophie Schmidt. Schmidt’s shot was pushed out for the corner kick by Thorns goalkeeper Nadine Angerer in the 25th minute.
Defender Courtney Niemiec, making her second start for the Thorns, played Jessica McDonald behind the Sky Blue back line in the 63rd minute for arguably Portland’s best chance at the equalizer. Niemiec put a low cross in to the top of the six yard box that found McDonald unmarked but her shot from eight yards out went just over the top of the bar.
Portland continued to pressure following its goal and pressured consistently but were unable to finish for the go-ahead tally.
After splitting the season series last year 1-1-1, Portland came out attacking and earned several opportunities in the first 15 minutes.
The Thorns’ best chance to take the lead in the opening 45 minutes came in the 15th minute when Rebecca Moros slipped a pass in behind the Sky Blue back line to McDonald. McDonald ripped a shot on goal that forced Sky Blue FC keeper Jill Loyden to make a diving stop.
Three minutes later, the home side almost got on the board when Caitlin Foord was given space on the right flank and played in rookie forward Maya Hayes. Hayes was unable to get on the end of her pass and collided with Angerer as the German goalkeeper slid out to make the save.
There were some nervous moments for Thorns fans following the collision as Angerer stayed down for several minutes. She appeared to be okay following medical attention and finished the remainder of the match.
SBFC – Christie Rampone (1) – 26′
POR – Allie Long (2) – 75′ (PK)
Sky Blue FC – Jillian Loyden; Kendall Johnson, Coco Goodson, Christie Rampone, Kelley O’Hara; Nanase Kiryu (Taylor Lytle 58), Sophie Schmidt, Katy Freels, Cami Levin (Ashley Nick 61) Caitlin Foord; Maya Hayes (Monica Ocampo 85)
Portland – Nadine Angerer; Rebecca Moros (Sarah Huffman 73), Nikki Marshall, Emily Menges, Courtney Niemiec; Meleana Shim (Angie Kerr 59), Sinead Farrelly, Amber Brooks, Allie Long; Christine Sinclair, Jessica McDonald (Jackie Acevedo 83)
Nikki Marshall – caution – 73’