Sky Blue Missing 2 Key Players for Home Opener

Erika Skroski is one of Sky Blue's key defenders

By TOM SLATER

imagesizecacheurlOn Sunday evening, Sky Blue will be the last of the 10 teams in the National Women’s Soccer League to play a home game — but the club, which has yet to win a match, will have to do it without two of its most important players.

Sky Blue’s matriarch, defender and captain Christie Pearce, 41, will not suit up while she is subject to the league’s concussion protocol and the Australia international striker Sam Kerr, 23, will miss the game after making the long trip home to attend an awards ceremony.

Sky Blue (0-1-1, 1 point) will play its first match of the 2017 NWSL season at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J., after earning a draw in its season opener before losing last week at the Boston Breakers.

Pearce, a New Jersey native who has been a fixture in the defense of Sky Blue and the United States women’s national team, played every minute of every game last year. She will miss her first league game since 2015, when she joined the national team for the Women’s World Cup. Her consecutive game streak will end at 29.

FC Kansas City (1-1-0, 3 points) opened the season with a 2-0 win against Boston, then dropped a 1-0 decision to the Chicago Red Stars last week. Kansas City has been hampered by the absence of Amy Rodriguez, who returned to play after giving birth, then sustained a torn knee ligament that will keep her out the rest of the season. The club will also be without striker Shea Groom, an eight-goal scorer last year, who sustained a rib injury.