"We are excited to go into Portland and build on the solid foundation that we have established over our last few games," said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach, in a statement. "We as a team are moving in the right direction and consistently playing at a high level right now. Portland is a very well-coached team, and we look forward to the challenge that they will present us on Saturday evening."
Sky Blue FC is coming off a big win over rival Washington Spirit last weekend. Raquel Rodriguez and Sam Kerr both scored their first goals of the 2016 campaign to lift Sky Blue over the Spirit, 2-1. Their performance against the Spirit made Sky Blue the first team in the league to not only score, but to win a match at Maryland SoccerPlex this season.
The Portland Thorns are coming off a stressful week in which they played two matches in just five days. The second match was a hard fought 2-1 comeback win on the road against the Orlando Pride.
Saturday's match is the first time Sky Blue faces the Thorns this season. The teams' last match was last August, a 1-0 win for Sky Blue at Yurcak FIeld. Historically Sky Blue FC has a 5-2-2 record against Portland and have out scored the them 9-7. Sky Blue FC and Seattle Reign FC are the only two teams to beat the Portland Thorns at their home stadium over the past four seasons.
However, Sky Blue will have its work cut out for it on Saturday as the Thorns are not only sitting at the very top of the table, but they remain the only unbeaten team in the league.
Both Sky Blue FC and Portland Thorns FC will be missing some familiar faces from their roster, as national team camps have begun for the U.S. and Canadian women's national teams. Kelley O'Hara will be gone from the Sky Blue FC roster, while the Thorns will be missing Tobin Heath, Meghan Klingenberg, Allie Long and captain Christine Sinclair.
Sky Blue will also be without Kelly Conheeney and Kim DeCesare, both unavailable Saturday night because of injuries, and while Maya Hayes's injury status has been upgraded from out to doubtful, she most likely will not see the field either.
Despite still being listed as questionable as she continues recovering from an off-season foot surgery, Australian-international Sam Kerr likely will see the field in Portland. Last weekend Kerr subbed in in the second half of Sky Blue's match against the Spirit, scoring on her very first touch of the match to seal the win for Sky Blue.
The Thorns will also be without a number of players because of injury. The former Sky Blue defender Meg Morris is out for the remainder of the 2016 season after suffering a fractured hip a few weeks ago, and Kat Williamson is listed as doubtful as she deals with a right knee injury. Goalkeeper Adrianna Franch is listed as probable because of a hip contusion, but Michelle Betos will most likely be starting in the post for the Thorns anyway.
Kick off for Saturday's match is set for 10:30 p.m. EST. The match will be streamed live on the NWSL Soccer YouTube channel and is available here.
Sky Blue FC Roster