Sky Blue Looks to Rebound Against Orlando

pearce v press

By TOM SLATER

sky blue logoWednesday night’s Sky Blue game against visiting Orlando is pivotal in the club’s stretch of three games in seven days, the second such stretch of the season.

But after an excruciating 2-1 loss last Sunday at the Chicago Red Stars, the home game versus the Pride (7 p.m. Yurcak Field in Piscataway) takes on more importance in the National Women’s Soccer League.

A win against Orlando (3-4-3, 12 points) would give Sky Blue (5-5-1, 16) momentum heading into Saturday’s match at first-place North Carolina (8-3-0, 24).

“We look forward to getting back on the field” Sky Blue Coach Christy Holly said. “After a quick turnaround, we are fully aware of how important this game is. We know that the second half in Chicago over the weekend was not a real representation of how we are capable of playing, and we plan on fixing that.”

Sky Blue carried a 1-0 lead into the second half Sunday on Madison Tiernan’s first professional goal, in the fourth minute. But the Red Stars applied pressure and got two goals in a four-minute stretch midway through the second half to give Chicago the win.

With a short turnaround, Sky Blue is also dealing with injuries. Leah Galton is still recovering from a leg injury and the United States international Kelley O’Hara missed Sunday’s match and is questionable against the Pride. Defenders Erica Skroski and Erin Simon returned last week from minor injuries and each played a half.

Orlando has been struggling. Over the weekend, the Pride saw a two-game winning streak snapped by the Houston Dash as Carli Lloyd and Rachel Daly each registered goals in a 2-0. The Pride also have not fared as well on the road, winning only once in five away matches.

One of the potential highlights will be the matchup between Orlando forward and Brazil international Marta and Sky Blue defender and the former U.S. captain Christie Pearce. Marta and Sky Blue midfielder Sarah Killion are tied for the NWSL lead in goals with five each.

The two teams met in late May with Sky Blue scoring a late goal by Maya Hayes in a 2-1 win.