Karen Bardsley Leads Sky Blue FC Past the Atlanta Beat
Sky Blue FC Wins KSU Soccer Stadium Opener, 1-0(Photo by Michael Pimentel – ISI Photos)
Kennesaw, Ga. (Sunday, May 9, 2010) – Goalkeeper Karen Bardsley put forth a stellar effort on the road tonight in what was the first-ever match at KSU Soccer Stadium, leading Sky Blue FC (3-2-0, 9 points) to a 1-0 victory over the Atlanta Beat (0-4-1, 1 point). The lone tally of the night came via an own goal by the Beat in the 50th minute, and the three points picked up by Sky Blue FC moves the team into second place in the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Standings.
“Karen was absolutely unbelievable tonight,” Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen said after the win. “She made so many amazing saves and really kept us in the match. As a team, it gives you a huge confidence boost when you know that you will get such a high level of play by your goalkeeper.”
Bardsley registered 13 saves in this match, and the blank slate was her league-leading third shutout of the season. The English National Team netminder was under heavy pressure throughout the night but continues to look very comfortable between the pipes for Sky Blue FC. For the game, Atlanta had 15 corner kicks to four by Sky Blue FC, and the Beat also held the shot advantage by a count of 25-9.
“Tonight was just an amazing night,” Bardsley stated. “From the fans to the facility itself, it was just an amazing environment.”
The only goal of the evening was a result of a play that started off the foot of Sky Blue FC forward Laura Kalmari in the 50th minute. The Finnish National Team striker crossed a ball to the top of the 18-yard box from the right side of the field, and Atlanta defender Leigh Ann Robinson trailed the feed and attempted to head the ball back to goalkeeper Brett Maron. With Maron off her line to challenge for the ball, the header found its way into the back of the net to give Sky Blue FC a 1-0 advantage.
The Beat intensified its attack after the own goal, and it got off a flurry of shots toward the Sky Blue FC goal in the final 40 minutes of the match. The back line of Sky Blue FC fought off the advances, with that effort being led by Bardsley.
“One of my biggest goals is to stay focused for 90 minutes,” Bardsley stated. “Atlanta was really coming at us in the second half, and I knew that I would have to keep the switch turned on. Road wins are critical, and it’s huge for you as a team when you can pick up three points on the road.”
Next up for Sky Blue FC is a 4:00 p.m. pairing with Saint Louis Athletica on Sunday, May 16th. The team returns home to Yurcak Field in three weeks when it hosts the Boston Breakers on Saturday, May 29th, at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that game can be purchased now by calling 1-888-SBFC-TIX or clicking here.