The return of their World Cup-winning captain and her fellow USWNT players on the visiting Washington Spirit helped Sky Blue FC sell out a game Wednesday night for the first time in four years.
An announced attendance of 5,003 packed Yurcak Field at Rutgers University for the midweek fixture that ended in a 1-0 win for the visitors. Carli Lloyd started and wore the captain’s armband in her return to Sky Blue, but was limited in her opportunities by a Spirit team that controlled 64 percent of the possession on the night. Lloyd’s USWNT teammates Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh both started for the visitors.
Sky Blue registered six shots on the night and just two on target from Julie James and Erica Skroski. The lone goal came in the 53rd minute from Spirit forward Ashley Hatch. Kailen Sheridan recorded two saves on the night in goal for Sky Blue while Aubrey Bledsoe recorded her sixth clean sheet of the season with a pair of saves on the other end.
The loss was the second straight and ninth defeat of the season for the last place Sky Blue after they had won two straight. Sky Blue has been shut out in seven of their nine losses, including a 2-0 loss in Maryland to the Spirit to start the season.
Prior to Wednesday night’s game, Sky Blue had averaged crowds of 1,432 in their first six home games of the season.