Sky Blue-North Carolina Showdown in NWSL

Sarah Killion is the NWSL leading scorer

By TOM SLATER

sky blue logoFirst place in the National Women’s Soccer League will be on the line Wednesday night when Sky Blue, winners of two straight, and the North Carolina Courage, losers of two straight, face off at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C.

Sky Blue (3-2-1, 10 points) is only two points behind the Courage (4-2-0, 12) — the defending league champion who won the title last year as the Western New York Flash before the club was purchased and moved to North Carolina.

Sky Blue’s offense has evolved early this season with Sarah Killion leading the league with five goals — four from the penalty spot. Raquel Rodriguez has a pair — both game-winners — while Sam Kerr has been the engine for Sky Blue, setting up goals with aggressive runs and pinpoint passing. With 10 goals over all, Sky Blue is No. 2 in the league behind Seattle (15).

Jess McDonald, who holds the NWSL record for career regular-season goals (33), leads the Courage with two goals and an assist. McDonald and the United States international Lynn Williams form a dangerous tandem.

“Wednesday evening’s match should be a very entertaining game,” Sky Blue Coach Christy Holly said. “Even with the quick turnaround, we feel that we have adequately prepared our team, and we look forward to squaring off against one of the very best clubs in the league. We feel that if we meet our potential, it will be a positive outcome for Sky Blue.”

Press Leading Chicago

The Red Stars are tied with Sky Blue on points and goal differential (plus-2) in second place with the United States international Christen Press a key component.

She had a goal and an assist in last weekend’s 2-1 win over North Carolina and was named the NWSL Player of the Week.

Press, a forward from Los Angeles, converted from the penalty spot in the 30th minute, then set up Sofia Huerta for a goal in the 37th minute.