Sky Blue FC Seeks Second Straight Win in Washington

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Mandy Freeman | Sky Blue FC
Photo by Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos.

Sky Blue FC and Washington Spirit Meet for 7 p.m. Kickoff at Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday Night

Sky Blue FC (1-1-1, 4 points) will return to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday, seeking its second consecutive win when it travels to the Washington Spirit (0-2-1, 1 point) at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Kickoff for the match is set for 7:00 p.m.

“We are very eager to get the game started on Saturday on the back end of a good result last weekend,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “This is an opportunity for us to try and gather a little bit of momentum against a very strong Washington Spirit team. We had a good week of preparation, and we know that we need to be at our very best in order to get anything from this game.”

After two consecutive road matches to start the 2017 NWSL campaign, Sky Blue FC played its home opener last Sunday, rallying behind a dramatic 82nd minute goal by midfielder Raquel Rodriguez to claim a 1-0 result over FC Kansas City. On that scoring series, first-year forward McKenzie Meehan got off a tricky shot that forced FC Kansas City netminder Nicole Barnhart to knock her attempt for a corner. Kelley O’Hara then took the ensuing corner kick for Sky Blue FC, finding first-year defender Mandy Freeman on the far side of the six-yard box. Freeman then touched a feed to Rodriguez in front of the frame, and the Costa Rica international stretched out her left leg to poke the ball past Barnhart.

Some notes from the win over FC Kansas City include it being the first-ever NWSL shutout for Sky Blue FC goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, who was playing in front of a back line that consisted of two first-year defenders (Freeman, Kayla Mills) and two second-year defenders (Erica Skroski, Erin Simon). Making her professional debut in the game was Meehan, while the assist from Freeman was the first of her professional career. The win also marked the first-ever victory for Sky Blue FC over FC Kansas City at Yurcak Field, as well as it being its first win in a home opener since the inaugural season of the NWSL in 2013.

The Spirit enters Saturday night in search of its first win of the 2017 NWSL season. Most recently, Washington fell to the Houston Dash last Saturday night at the Maryland SoccerPlex by means of a 28th minute goal from Kealia Ohai. The goal from Ohai was her 13th tally in 13 matches, and it was the lone score in a 1-0 contest.

Sky Blue FC leads the all-time series over the Spirit, 7-4-2. The New Jersey side also holds the advantage at the Maryland SoccerPlex, 3-2-2. Last season, the two clubs split a four-game set with a pair of wins apiece.

Similar to last week against FC Kansas City, Sky Blue FC will be playing on Saturday without some of its key elements. Defender Christie Pearce is still in the league concussion protocol and will miss her second straight match. Fresh off her game-winner last weekend, Raquel Rodriguez will be unavailable to the team due to her graduation from Penn State University being held on Saturday. One final player who will not be in Washington on Saturday is midfielder Daphne Corboz, who is currently in England taking an entrance examination for medical school. Both Rodriguez and Corboz will return to New Jersey next week.

Sky Blue FC will return home to Yurcak Field on Saturday, May 20, hosting the Houston Dash in the NWSL Lifetime Game of the Week. Kickoff for that match is slated for 4:00 p.m., and tickets are available now online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).

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