Preview: Sky Blue FC v. Western New York Flash

A shot from Kelley O'Hara in Sky Blue FC's match against the Western New York Flash on July 19th. (Photo: Sky Blue FC)

By MC Bousquette
Staff Writer

Next in their comeback campaign, Sky Blue FC (3-6-5) takes on the Western New York Flash (4-7-3) as both fight to make the NWSL playoffs. The sides faced off two weeks ago in a draw that ended 3-3 after an offensive explosion permitted Sky Blue to equalize and walk away with a point.

The Competition:

The Flash arrive in New Jersey with a five game losing streak, falling most recently 2-0 to the similarly struggling Portland Thorns. The side’s most recent addition, striker Lady Andrade of the Colombian WNT, poses a threat up top if she is able to adjust to her new squad quickly. The Flash’s other newcomer, Australian WNT member Michelle Heyman, has already proven herself by scoring in her debut match. Amanda Frisbie and Samantha Mewis contribute to this potentially harmful offense, which must compensate for the Flash’s less than thrilling defensive performance.

Sky Blue:

Sky Blue is in the heat of an offensive surge. After scoring no more than one goal per match throughout the entire first half of the NWSL season, Sky Blue began a new trend of netting three goals a game. Kelley O’Hara has dominated up top since returning from the World Cup, and, after scoring two against the Breakers last weekend, shows no signs of slowing down.

Australian WNT member Sam Kerr, who settled in immediately after joining the club mid-season from the Flash, Katy Freels, and Nadia Nadim are unsurprisingly consistent on attack. The three, in addition to O’Hara, combine dynamically well to penetrate the final third and exhibit no trouble finding each other to set up dangerous opportunities. Taylor Lytle and Canada’s Caitlin Filigno contribute to the attacking depth, and were noticeably comfortable when they entered in the second half against Boston. Coach Jim Gabarra truly has no shortage of options.

Defensively, Sky Blue is coming together. Brittany Cameron is an absolute stronghold at keeper, all the while supported by a back line centered around the experienced Christie Rampone and Caitlin Foord, of the USWNT and Australian WNT respectively. As the squad continues to round out, Sky Blue looks prepared to continue the march towards the playoffs.

The Bottom Line:

As with last weekend’s match, both sides need to walk away with three points. They sit in the bottom three of the NWSL table and have increasingly difficult schedules as the playoffs approach.

Sky Blue FC take on the Western New York Flash this Saturday, August 1st at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, NJ at 7pm EST (Stream it live here).