As Sky Blue FC battles FC Kansas City on Saturday for a much needed three points, the New Jersey-based team will also make American soccer history as well.
Sky Blue will become the first professional women’s club in U.S. soccer to play 100 matches. The milestone, naturally, is also a first for a National Women’s Soccer League side as well.
“As one of the founding clubs of the NWSL, we are exceptionally honored and excited to play in a game that is such a milestone for professional women’s soccer in the United States,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach.
While the historic moment carries a great deal of meaning for Sky Blue, their attention will quickly turn to the opponent for the evening. Looking to build on its 1-0 road win over North Carolina Courage, the Blues welcome a tough Kansas City side to Yurcak Field in Piscataway.
“[This] is a great opportunity for us to build upon a fantastic performance in North Carolina,” said Holly. “We know we must be at the top of our game against FC Kansas City in order to get a positive outcome.”
To this point in the 2017 NWSL season, Sky Blue FC is the only team that has played a pair of three-game weeks and a total of 13 matches. Saturday night marks its 14th overall contest of the year, which is one more than any other club in the league.
Opposite Sky Blue FC on Saturday night will be two-time NWSL champion FC Kansas City, a team that has historically played well at Yurcak Field. When the two clubs met on April 30 earlier this season, Sky Blue FC defeated FC Kansas City on an 82nd-minute game-winner from Mandy Freeman to Raquel Rodriguez. Goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan recorded the shutout in net, with the 1-0 final giving Sky Blue FC its first-ever home win over FC Kansas City.
The theme for Sky Blue FC this week has been recovery after playing three matches in less than seven days over the preceding week. The tough stretch was capped off last Saturday in the NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week, as Sky Blue went into North Carolina and defeated the first-place Courage at WakeMed Soccer Park, 1-0. Sheridan registered her second clean slate of the season in the contest, while a dramatic game-winner came in the 84th minute.
On that scoring sequence, Leah Galton danced through two North Carolina defenders on the left flank before crossing a feed from the end line. On the near post was Maya Hayes, who flicked the ball onto Sam Kerr on the far post, and the Australia international one-timed it into the back of the net.
Kerr has been Sky Blues top player this season, twice winning NWSL Player of the Month (May, June), once winning Player of the Week, breaking Sky Blue FC’s all-time goal scoring record (17), winning Goal of the Week on a bicycle kick goal that was featured on ESPN SportsCenter, and she now sits a single goal behind Jess McDonald’s all-time NWSL record of 33.
FC Kansas City arrives in New Jersey on the heels of a 2-1 loss to the Houston Dash last weekend, and the team is winless in its last five contests (0-3-2).