Preview: Sky Blue FC v. Portland Thorns

Katy Freels (Frierson)

By MC Bousquette
Staff Writer

Bottom of the table Sky Blue FC (1-6-4) seeks redemption at the NWSL season’s midpoint, as they take on the Portland Thorns FC (3-3-4) at Yurcak Field. This rematch comes just a week after the Thorns defeated Sky Blue 2-1 in Portland.

Last Friday, in what initially looked like a turn of luck for Sky Blue FC, midfielder Katy Freels put Sky Blue on the scoreboard midway through the first half. But the Thorns came charging back in the second, as Allie Long scored one off a penalty kick, and Sinead Farrelly sunk the second with a header. Sky Blue defender Cami Levin received the red card that led to Long’s goal, and she will have to be replaced tonight.

Now that the World Cup is over, NWSL sides are slowly getting their national team players back, although many teams are uncertain as to the return dates and playing status of their players. Both Christie Rampone and Kelley O’Hara will be present tonight at Rutgers, although it is unclear whether either of the surely exhausted world champions will see playing time. Australian midfielder Sam Kerr should be available for Sky Blue, which would mark her first match with them since her transfer from the WNY Flash.

The Thorns will also have their USWNT players present, as Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath return to their club, but whether these two will play is similarly in question. Midfielder Christine Sinclair, of the Canadian national team, will not be present. That said, the return of Canadian WNT defender Kaylyn Kyle and Australian WNT defender Stephanie Catley will make scoring difficult for Sky Blue.

Tonight’s match will be a rugged one, as both sides seek to turn their seasons around. Sky Blue is 10 points out of a playoff spot, and desperately need tonight to mark the beginning of a winning streak.

Sky Blue FC takes on Portland Thorns FC tonight at 7pm. A livestream of the match will available here on Youtube.