Sky Blue Looks to Avenge Loss to Portland

Erica Skroski  will miss her first game this year with a bone bruise

By TOM SLATER

sky blue logoSky Blue flew across the United States seeking to avenge its first home loss of the National Women’s Soccer League season as it continues to battle for a playoff berth.

Sky Blue (4-4-1, 13 points) will face host Portland (4-1-3, 15) on Saturday (10 p.m. Eastern; streaming on go90.com) in Providence Park, where the Thorns draw well in one loudest stadiums in the league.

Portland beat Sky Blue, 2-0, at Yurcak Field on June 3 in the final game before the international break. United States international Lindsey Horan scored both goals and teammate Amanda Franch was stellar in goal. Franch’s seven saves negated Sky Blue’s 18-8 shot advantage. Horan scored both goals in the first half, forcing Sky Blue to chase the game, to no avail.

The loss snapped Sky Blue’s three-game home winning streak while the third-place Thorns are riding a six-game unbeaten streak. Portland has lost only once in its last 17 games at Providence Park.

Sky Blue will be missing two key defenders in Erin Simon and Erica Skroski. Both are suffering from bone bruises. The team does not have a wealth of defenders, though Kayla Mills is expected to return to the starting lineup after playing as a reserve the last month. The other defender slot may take some creativity. Maya Hayes has seen action only at striker, but played outside back in previous seasons. Kelley O’Hara also has experience in the back.

Sarah Killion is still the leading scorer of both Sky Blue and the league with five goals. All but one have come from the penalty spot.