Sky Blue FC defender Kelley O’Hara was named to the NWSL September Team of the Month, as voted on by the NWSL Media Association. She was one of four defenders honored with the award, which sets out to acknowledge the league’s best XI players each month. It is the first time O’Hara has been named to a team of the month.
The versatile defender was named to the Team of the Month days after an impressive performance in the team’s 4-3 win over Boston in their season finale. She was integral on both sides of the ball for Sky Blue, pushing high into the attack from her spot on the backline to aid the offense in their comeback. She followed up her assist on Madison Tiernan’s goal in the 76th minute by scoring the game-winning goal in the 87th to end Sky Blue’s tumultuous season on a high note.
Even with the FIFA break interrupting NWSL play mid-September, Sky Blue had four games during the month, during which it finished with a disappointing 1-2-1 record (10-11-3, 33 points for the season). Despite the lackluster results from Sky Blue, O’Hara’s performance during those matches was a bright spot, as she used her speed down the flank and her vision of the game to create five scoring chances for her club over the month.
Although national team performance is not taken into consideration for NWSL awards, O’Hara also had a eventful September with the United State women’s national team (USWNT). She earned her 100th cap with the USWNT in the first of two international friendlies against New Zealand, becoming the 36th U.S. player to achieve the milestone. In the second friendly, she assisted Lynn Williams’ goal in the 55th minute to help the USWNT to a 5-0 victory over the Football Ferns.
One surprising omission from the Team of the Month for many is Sam Kerr, who had previously been honored four consecutive months (May-August). Like O’Hara, Kerr played every minute of September, and her goal in the 34th minute on Saturday against Boston broke the NWSL single-season goals record. However, Kerr did not have the impressive month that fans have come to expect of her, and her record breaker in Boston was her lone goal of the month.
The full Team of the Month is below.
Goalkeeper: Adrianna Franch
Defenders: Kelley O’Hara, Emily Menges, Becky Sauerbrunn, Casey Short
Midfielders: Marta, Sam Mewis, Alanna Kennedy
Forwards: Shea Groom, Christine Sinclair, Lynn Williams