Sky Blue FC (2-3-1, 7 points) is on the road again this week, going up against the Chicago Red Stars (4-1-1, 13 points) in Chicago. Coming off a tough loss against the Western New York Flash, Sky Blue is hoping for a win against the Red Stars, who are tied with the Washington Spirit at the top of the table.
"Obviously we were disappointed with the result against Western New York, and the players have been very motivated to step up and correct some of the mistakes that we made. We now face a very good Chicago team on Sunday, and we are focused on getting back to winning ways. We have seen a great attitude and application from the players throughout the week, and we are really looking forward to putting that into action," Sky Blue FC Head Coach Christy Holly said in a statement released by the team.
A win will not be so easy though, especially with Sky Blue missing several key players. Starting outside back Kelley O'Hara will not be on the field for Sky Blue this week, as she is at camp with the United States Women's National Team (USWNT) preparing for a pair of international friendlies against Japan. Christie Rampone, who was also called into camp for the USWNT, declined the invitation on the grounds of not being fully recovered from her December knee surgery, so she should once again be anchoring SBFC's back line against the Red Stars.
Sky Blue will also be without Maya Hayes while she continues to recover from an MCL sprain. Sam Kerr and Danielle Schulmann are also unavailable as they continue to recover from foot surgery and injury respectively. There is a chance Raquel Rodriguez and Tasha Kai will be sitting this one out, too, as Rodriguez has strained her right hip flexor and Kai strained her left hamstring.
To fill in for Kelley O'Hara, Sky Blue FC has called up Theresa Diedrich. The club has also officially announced that they have waived free agent midfielder, Ashley Nick from the roster.
According to her Twitter account, Sky Blue may also be without New Zealand-international goalkeeper Erin Nayler, who the team just officially signed to their club just before the Boston match, as it appears as though the keeper has left the team for undisclosed reasons.
— Erin Nayler (@erinnayler1) May 28, 2016
No official word has been made by the team yet, but if Nayler and Sky Blue did part ways, Caroline Casey, who was waived to make room for Nayler on the roster, will most likely be re-signed with the team to serve as backup keeper to Caroline Stanley. Casey started in SBFC's first two matches this season, but Stanley has been between the posts ever since.
The Red Stars will be without their starting goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, defender Julie Johnson and midfielder/forward Christen Press, all of whom are away at USWNT camp in Denver. Chicago may also be without Sofia Huerta and Cara Walls, both of whom are listed as probable for Sunday night's match as they recover from ankle sprains.
Sky Blue FC Roster:
Goalkeepers: (2) Erin Nayler, Caroline Stanley
Defenders: (5) CoCo Goodson, Kristin Grubka, Christie Rampone (C), Erin Simon, Erica Skroski
Midfielders: (7) Kelly Conheeney, Theresa Diederich, Shawna Gordon, Sarah Killion, Taylor Lytle, Raquel Rodriguez, Nikki Stanton
Forwards: (3) Kim DeCesare, Leah Galton, Tasha Kai,
Head Coach: Christy Holly
Note: Maya Hayes (MCL sprain), Sam Kerr (foot) and Danielle Schulmann (right thigh strain) are unavailable due to injury