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Sky Blue FC rolls into championship game
by Paul Kennedy, August 20th, 2009 7AM



[WPS] First, Sky Blue FC knocked off Washington on the road. Next, it won at Saint Louis. After Wednesday's convincing 1-0 victory over the Athletica in the Super Semifinal, there appears to be no stopping the bottom-seed Sky Blue FC, which moves into Saturday's WPS championship against the Los Angeles Sol (TV: Fox Sports Net, Comcast Sports Net, live, 4 pm ET/1 pm PT).

Defender Keeley Dowling's first goal of the season was the difference in a game visiting Sky Blue FC would have won by four or five goals but for some spectacular saves by Saint Louis keeper Hope Solo.

After Solo had already stopped Kerri Hanks and Kacey White, Sky Blue FC continued to attack in waves and finally broke through for the winner in the 30th winner. Yael Averbuch beat two defenders and fed Dowling, who beat Solo to the far post.

"I had possession of the ball, picked my head up, and placed it with my left foot," Dowling said. "It was funny because Hope made such tremendous saves tonight and mine just snuck right by her. We played our game and came out on top. I'm very proud of my goal, but even prouder of my team."

Twice in the first part of the second half, Sky Blue FC had the chance to pull away, but Solo stopped shots by Brazilian Rosana.

The Athletica had plenty of possession late in the game, but it never tested goalie Jenni Branam.

"In the first half," said Sky Blue FC player-coach Christine Rampone, "we were so successful because we kept the ball moving. There were a good few combos and in the beginning the combinations really helped the way we played. We didn't do that as much in the second half but still came out on top. There were a lot of goal opportunities for us but we stayed compact and the first ball got us our victory. Midfield did a great job staying back and overall, we couldn't have played a better game."

Aug. 19 in Fenton, Mo.
Saint Louis 0 Sky Blue FC 1. Goal: Dowling (Averbuch) 31.
Saint Louis -- Solo, Tancredi, McNeill (Logterman, 65), Ellertson, Weber, Woznuk (Cross, 61), Cinalli, Fletcher, Chalupny, Walsh, Welsh (Pistorius, 72)
Sky Blue FC -- Branam, Dowling, Buczkowski, Rampone, Schnur, White, Averbuch, McCallum (Francielle, 73), O'Reilly (Parker, 64), Rosana, Hanks (Kai, 46)   
Yellow Cards: Saint Louis -- Logterman 90+; Sky Blue FC -- Schnur 67, Kai 78
Referee: Ted Unkel.
Att.: 5,064.


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