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Match Preview: Sky Blue FC vs. North Carolina Courage

Carli Lloyd
Sky Blue FC is still in search of its first win of the season.
photo copyright Lewis Gettier, used with permission

Sky Blue FC vs. North Carolina Courage

Yurcak Field; Piscataway, New Jersey

May 19, 2018

7 p.m. ET

Watch: go90 or NWSLsoccer.com

Sky Blue FC (0-4-1, 1 point) will return to National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) action on Saturday night when the club hosts top-ranked North Carolina Courage (6-0-2, 20 points) at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. ET, and Eric LeGrand will serve as Sky Blue FC honorary captain for the match.

“We are excited to play the top-ranked team in the league on our home field,” said Sky Blue FC head coach Denise Reddy. “We have been working really hard on fixing some things, and we have been making some great strides along the way. This game is particularly exciting because it presents the perfect opportunity for our team to make a hard shift.”

Sky Blue FC comes into the match off a 4-1 road loss to Seattle Reign FC. Rookie forward Savannah McCaskill scored the New Jersey club’s lone goal in the contest, her second of the season. McCaskill and forward Katie Johnson each have two goals apiece to bring the team’s total to four goals this year. In comparison, North Carolina Courage has scored 13 goals so far and currently leads the NWSL in that category.

The Courage enter Saturday’s match-up as the only unbeaten team in the league. In North Carolina’s most recent outing, The Courage defeated the Washington Spirit, 1-0, at home. Defender Abby Erceg scored the game-winner in the 63rd minute of action and was assisted by Jaelene Hinkle.

The last time Sky Blue FC faced North Carolina was on March 31 for the New Jersey side’s first game of the 2018 campaign. The Courage hosted Sky Blue at WakeMed Soccer Park, and the match remained scoreless until stoppage time. In the 92nd minute, Hinkle won possession of the ball and dribbled up the field before playing an unbelievable pass between the Sky Blue FC defense and finding Jessica McDonald. She then cut around a charging Kailen Sheridan and sent home the game-winner to seal the 1-0 victory for the Courage.

Historically, North Carolina leads the all-time series between these two clubs, owning an accumulative 2-1-1 record. Their lone meeting in New Jersey last year resulted in a 1-1 draw.

INJURY REPORT

Sky Blue FC

OUT: Christina Gibbons (right calf strain)

QUESTIONABLE: Rebekah Stott (right groin strain)

North Carolina Courage

OUT: Sabrina D’Angelo (left ankle sprain), Makenzy Doniak (left knee ACL tear – SEI), Yuri Kawamura (right knee ACL repair – D45), Julie King (left ankle repair), Lynn Williams (right hamstring strain)