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Match Preview: Sky Blue FC vs. FC Kansas City – 3 Things To Look For

Sky Blue FC hosts FC Kansas City in 2017 Home Opener 

Sarah Killion
Midfielder Sarah Killion converted a second half penalty kick against Seattle on April 15 to secure the lone point for SBFC.
Photo by Jane Gershovich, ISI Photos.

Sky Blue FC vs. FC Kansas City

Yurcak Field; Piscataway, NJ

April 30, 2017

6 p.m. ET

Watch: go90 app

Sky Blue FC (0-1-1, 1 point) will return to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Sunday, April 30, hosting two-time NWSL champion FC Kansas City (1-1-0, 3 points) at Yurcak Field on the Busch Campus of Rutgers University. The Week 3 NWSL contest will kickoff at 6 p.m. ET, and fans can watch live via NWSL’s streaming partner go90 or by purchasing tickets either online or by calling 888-SBFC-TIX (888-723-2849).

After opening the season with two consecutive road matches, Sky Blue FC finally returns home to Yurcak Field before hitting the road again for another two-game stint. The New Jersey club will look to rebound from a 1-0 loss to the Boston Breakers on April 23. SBFC created several early scoring opportunities, but was equally matched by Breakers goalkeeper Abby Smith. The lone tally came in the 37th minute of action as Rose Lavelle fed a through-ball into the right side of the penalty area that was finished by Natasha Dowie. The result ended Sky Blue FC’s 12-game scoring streak, which was the longest active streak in the league.

FC Kansas City will also be looking to get back to its winning ways after dropping a 1-0 loss to the Chicago Red Stars on April 22. The only goal of the match came in the 41st minute courtesy of U.S. international Julie Ertz (formerly Julie Johnson). FC Kansas City opened the 2017 season by defeating the Breakers at home by a score of 2-0.

As Sky Blue FC hosts FCKC in its season home opener, here are three things to look for:

1. How will Sky Blue FC’s defense adjust without Christie Pearce?

Last week, Sky Blue FC’s defense looked very exposed and out of sync. The strong performance by goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, who tallied 5 saves, kept SBFC in the match against the Breakers. For the home opener, captain and veteran defender Christie Pearce will miss her first game since 2015 due to being in the league concussion protocol. Her consecutive matches played streak concludes at 29 games, with her last absence being a result of participating in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Only time will tell how head coach Christy Holly will adjust the backline, but the lack of experience on defense could mean a long day for Sheridan in net.

2. Can Sky Blue FC get on the scoreboard?

So far this year, the only goal SBFC has scored was a successful penalty kick from midfielder Sarah Killion in the season opener against Seattle Reign FC. It’s not for lack of effort, as the club has tallied 21 shots and 13 shots on goal so far this season. However, when going against a defense with the likes of U.S. international Becky Sauerbrunn, scoring opportunities may be scarce. It doesn’t help that history is in the Blues favor, as Sky Blue FC has not been able to defeat FCKC at Yurcak Field.

SBFC will also be without forward Sam Kerr when the squad hosts FCKC. Kerr is currently in Australia to attend the Dolan Warren Awards, but she will return early next week. Holly will be making multiple player adjustments to the line-up this week, but could we also see a formation change due to the remaining player personnel?

3. The crowd

It’s no secret that Sky Blue FC has struggled with attendance over the years when compared to the rest of the league. However, the club has made strides to improve the game-day experience (like the return of the beer garden) and has its own supporters group known as Cloud 9. Despite the 6 p.m. kickoff on a Sunday evening, can the club draw a strong home-opening crowd? At least the weather looks to be in Sky Blue FC’s favor.