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Sky Blue FC mathematically alive but a very long shot

The race for the playoffs looks close but Sky Blue FC have too many teams to jump over and not enough time.

Sky Blue :Photo/Robyn McNeil Photo

With only three games left and the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) playoffs a very longshot, Sky Blue FC fans can look back at a few moments that could have changed their fate.

They could look back on the August 1 loss to the Western New York Flash at home - a last-minute defeat. Or you could talk about the mid-May loss to Washington on a goal in second-half stoppage time, a match that Sky Blue dominated in all stages except on the scoreboard. Or you can even point to a goal in the 86th minute that gave Houston a 1-1 draw on May 31, giving Sky Blue FC one point instead of three.

Matches like this happen all the time - that's soccer. But put together over the course of the season and it puts the Sky Blue FC in a tough position going into the final three weeks of the season.

With three matches left - Aug. 22 at home versus Portland; August 29 in Seattle and finally on Sept. 2 at home versus FC Kansas City -- Sky Blue FC has a 4-7-6 records for 17 points. They have to jump over four teams and make up nine points to finish fourth. That means three straight victories against three sides that are ahead of them in the standings.

Mathematically possible but unlikely. Portland, Washington and FC Kansas City all have 25 points in the third and fourth playoff spot. There would have to be a few draws in there along with three straight victories by Sky Blue FC even to begin considering the tiebreakers.

The shame of it all is Sky Blue FC is playing some its best soccer once its World Cup players returned. In fact, they are playing as well as anyone in the league since July 8, sporting a 3-1-2 record. While other teams have struggled a bit fitting in the World Cup players back into the lineup, Sky Blue has considerably improved its form. Christie Rampone and Caitlin Foord have solidified a defense that was barely holding together with injuries. Sam Kerr proved to be a quality running partner for Nadia Nadim up front. And Kelley O'Hara has provided an energy that has lifted the whole team.

The math is unchangeable. The past is now history. The 10-game winless streak that began after a season-opening victory over FC Kansas City put them in a deep hole. But Sky Blue can only control what is front of them - that is their last three games of the 2015 NWSL season and build for next year.

Which is exactly how they finished the 2014 season.