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Match Preview: Sky Blue FC vs. Orlando Pride

SBFC looks to turn things around despite roster filled with injuries

Marta vs. Christie Pearce
Sky Blue FC will look to bounce back from a 4-1 loss to the Washington Spirit last week when the club faces the Orlando Pride on Saturday night.
Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos

Sky Blue FC vs. Orlando Pride

Orlando City Stadium; Orlando, Florida

August 12, 2017

7:30 p.m. ET

Watch: go90 or NWSLsoccer.com

Sky Blue FC (7-8-2, 23 points) returns to National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday night as the club travels to Orlando to take on the Pride (6-6-5, 23 points) in the 2017 series final. The two teams split their previous matches of the season, with Sky Blue FC defeating Orlando 2-1 in May and the Pride winning the most recent contest on June 28, 3-2.

In the New Jersey club’s last outing, Sky Blue FC suffered a 4-1 loss to the Washington Spirit at Yurcak Field on August 4. The club did not have a strong showing in its first match after the second international break of the season, and SBFC head coach Christy Holly expressed his disappointment afterwards with the media.

“We didn’t perform tonight, from the first whistle to the last whistle,” said Holly postgame. “There’s a lot of things getting masked over in the first half, but the reality is we should have been up 4-0 at halftime. There’s no if’s or but’s about it. We should’ve been up 4-0 at halftime, so we’ve got to take this one on ourselves. It’s unacceptable to leave that many goals and that many opportunities and to be so inefficient in front of goal, so that must improve. You don’t concede goals like we did in pro soccer.”

Holly also mentioned that a majority of his roster is currently playing with injuries. Although he does not want to make excuses for his team, the impact of multiple injuries is starting to take its toll. Sky Blue FC has six players listed on its injury report this weekend – none being excused absences – and featuring key players such as Kelley O’Hara, Sam Kerr and Kailen Sheridan.

Sky Blue FC is winless in its last three games (0-2-1) but is only one point shy of fourth place in the standings and final playoff spot. However, Orlando is also in the same position with 23 points, but is coming off a 3-0 win at home on Tuesday night against the Washington Spirit. Marta, Camila and Alex Morgan each contributed a goal for the victory and extended the club's home unbeaten streak to three games.

Orlando is 4-2-2 at Orlando City Stadium, and Saturday night’s contest will mark the Pride’s third consecutive home match in eight days. Sky Blue FC has yet to play in Orlando City Stadium, but the team defeated the Pride 2-1 in the only road meeting of 2016.

Historically, Sky Blue FC leads the series with a 2-1-1 record. However, Holly will have another challenge to face as he takes on the Pride without O’Hara (listed as OUT) for the second consecutive match, and possibly without Kerr again as she is listed as Questionable.

Sky Blue FC will return home to New Jersey on Saturday, August 19 to host Seattle Reign FC for a 7 p.m. kickoff at Yurcak Field.

Injury Report:

OUT: Leah Galton (back strain), Kelley O’Hara (right adductor strain), Erin Simon (D45 – left foot fracture)

QUESTIONABLE: Mandy Freeman (left ankle sprain), Sam Kerr (left hip contusion)

PROBABLE: Kailen Sheridan (left ankle sprain)