NJ Sky Blue Eclipse LA Sol 1-0 in Championship

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The Los Angeles Sol lost 1-0 to Sky Blue FC in Saturday's inaugural Women's Professional Soccer Championship Game at The Home Depot Center.

Heather O'Reilly's goal in the 16th minute highlighted a disastrous first half for the Sol, which had gone into the match with a league-best 12-3-5 record. The L.A. team also had a 2-0-1 record against the New York/New Jersey squad, and had outscored Sky Blue 3-0 this year.

In addition to surrendering the goal, defender Allison Falk was issued a red card in the 27th minute for tackling Natasha Kai from behind. The ejection forced the Sol to play with 10 players for the remainder of the game.

Sky Blue, which finished fourth in the seven-team league with a 7-8-5 record and had to win two playoff games, both on the road, to reach the championship game, dominated the first half offensively, taking nine shots to one for the Sol and led 3-1 in shots on goal.

The scoring sequence began with a throw-in by Keely Dowling to Kacey White, who sent a cross to Kai. Kai redirected the ball with her head to O'Reilly, who put a shot from eight yards out past Sol goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc.

The Sol displayed more aggressiveness in the second half, taking seven shots to Sky Blue's three and leading 4-2 in shots on goal. However, Sky Blue goalkeeper Jenni Branam made two of her three saves in the second half, including stopping a free kick by Marta, the league's leading goal scorer, in the 84th minute, to complete her second consecutive shutout.

The crowd was announced at 7,281, topping the figures for all of the Sol's previous games at The Home Depot Center, except its opener, which drew 14,8323.

The game marked the third time a Los Angeles team played in the championship game during the first season of a professional soccer league. The Los Angeles Wolves defeated the Washington Whips, 6-5, in overtime in the 1967 United Soccer Association championship game, while the Los Angeles Galaxy lost to DC United, 3-2, in overtime in the 1996 MLS Cup.

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