Sky Blue Bounce Back With Win Over North Carolina

Sky Blue FC, Sam Kerr
Sam Kerr. Photo by Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos

North Carolina Courage 0
Sky Blue FC 1

Goals: SBFC: 84’ Sam Kerr (assist Maya Hayes)

Overview: Playing its third game in six days and on the road against first-place North Carolina, the mountain to climb for Sky Blue FC on Saturday appeared high. But the team that has proven to be enigmatic this season rose to the occasion. Heading into the final stretch of this match-up, which aired as the NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week, neither side had been able to break through until Sky Blue FC did so in the 84th minute. On the sequence, Leah Galton was played into space on the left flank by Nikki Stanton. After gathering the distribution, the England international stepped around a defender before dancing past another on her way to the end line. Before she arrived there, she sent a cross towards the near post, where Maya Hayes had planted herself. Once the ball got to Hayes, the New Jersey native flicked it to a wide-open Sam Kerr behind her, and the Australia international one-timed the feed past Courage netminder Katelyn Rowland to score what would become the game-winner. The goal for Kerr is her sixth of the season and has her one off the league lead. Additionally, the tally was the 32nd of her NWSL career and currently places her just behind North Carolina forward Jess McDonald for the all-time record. Also of note in this fixture is the clean sheet by first-year goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, her second of the year. The shutout by Sheridan and Sky Blue FC was also the first time that any NWSL team had blanked the Courage this season.

Quotable:
Sky Blue FC Head Coach Christy Holly…
“I could not be any prouder of this set of players. They overcame tremendous adversity with having to play in three different states over six days. For our team to step up and perform the way they did today says everything about the ability, and more importantly the character of every individual associated with this organization.”

What’s next:
Sky Blue FC will return home on Saturday, July 8, to host FC Kansas City. Kickoff is 7 p.m.