The Sky Blue FC (1-4-4, 7 points) will start what is basically the second half of the National Women's Soccer League season tonight with a home match against the first place Chicago Red Stars (4-1-3, 15 points). First kick is 6 p.m. at Yurcak Field on the Rutgers University campus.
Although there's time to move up the table, time is of the essence for the New Jersey-based side. After nine games, here's 3 things we know so far:
Brittany Cameron has been the best player for Sky Blue: Sky Blue hasn't missed a beat with the sudden retirement of Jill Lloyden in the off-season. Cameron was the backup and stepped up big-time this season. She was tremendous in the season-opening victory over FC Kansas City and again versus Seattle in a 1-1 draw with 2 diving saves in the first half and two point-blank stops in the second half. Her steady play has allowed Sky Blue FC to juggle the backline with players coming and going with national team duties.
Nadia needs some help: The Danish international didn't take anyone by surprise this year. She's been double-teamed in just about every game and hasn't had a steady running partner up front. She scored in the first match to get the game-winner over KC but hasn't scored from the field since. Her 90th minute penalty kick her only other score. And on top of that, she battled a nagging ankle injury.
The lineup will continue to change: Eventually the Sky Blue FC will have all their players back. But when and how much of the season will be left. Monica Ocampo may be around this weekend Rampone and O'Hara are done for the remainder of the WWC. Foord, Kerr and Filigno will be on their way back sometime this week. And they're going to need to decompress from the month-long tournament. How coach Jim Gabarra pieces them into the starting 11 will also be interesting. Defense hasn't been a problem but Sky Blue is the only NWSL team not to score more than one goal in a game all year. A connective midfield and ability to take advantage of scoring opportunities has been the big problem.