Sky Blue Takes On FC Kansas City in Season Finale

Photo: Mike Gunnoe/Special to The Kansas City Star

By MC Bousquette

Even though Sky Blue is out of the playoffs, the Jersey side’s closing match is an important one. FC Kansas City is officially in the playoffs, and is vying for a third place seed. Sky Blue stand at the ready to wreck that effort.

The Competition:

Tonight is retiring Lauren Holiday’s final NWSL regular season match, and one in which she will certainly start. Holiday was a significant contributor to the US Women’s National Team, starting nearly every match in this year’s World Cup. Her intensity up top, especially when combining with fellow USWNT striker Amy Rodriguez, will be a significant threat to Sky Blue.

The FC Kansas City midfield is synced well with its forwards, as Jen Buczkowski, fellow USWNT member Heather O’Reilly, and Yael Averbuch are key to both swinging the ball to the top and to reinforcing the back line. The defense is another majorly strong component of FC Kansas City’s success- they’re anchored by the fortuitous Becky Sauerbrunn, who has been just as key to FC Kansas City as she was for the USWNT in the World Cup.

With their playoff seed hanging in the balance tonight, FC Kansas City won’t give in easily to defeat.  

Sky Blue:

Sky Blue’s squad is capable of defeating FC Kansas City. Sky Blue demonstrated their strong second half of the season form last Saturday, in their draw against NWSL 2015 Shield-winning Seattle Reign FC. In fact, Sky Blue almost handed Seattle their first loss of the season, until Seattle equalized late in the second half.

If it sounds like I’ve been repeating myself in the last few previews, it’s because I am- Sky Blue is presently one of the most consistent squads in the NWSL. Tonight, the usual suspects will surely bombard Kansas City on offense- Kelley O’HaraSam Kerr, and Nadia Nadim are arguably at the top of their game, especially in conjunction with Sara Killion and Taylor Lytle.

The back line remains unchanging, with the steadfast Christie Rampone alongside Lindsi Cutshall and Caitlin Foord battling in front of the standout Brittany Cameron in goal. They’ll have their work cut out for them, but after the incredible defensive showing against the Reign lats week, should be able to handle Kansas City’s assault.

In short, Sky Blue will force Kansas City FC to truly demonstrate why they’re a playoff side.

The Bottom Line:

Tonight will provide a bittersweet conclusion to a roller-coaster of a season for Sky Blue FC. Head Coach Jim Gabarra spins the match in a positive light; “For us, this is a chance to play the defending league champion and a team that is fighting for its playoff positioning. We have an opportunity to go out with a result at home against a really good opponent, and it is important that we maintain the momentum that we have built over the past eight games. If we can do that, we will find ourselves in a position where we can end the season on a high note.”

Sky Blue FC takes on FC Kansas City tonight at 7pm EST at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ. (Watch it here on Youtube).