The breathtaking Women’s World Cup last month has been the adrenaline shot the National Women’s Soccer League was dying for. Even the league’s perennial bottom-dweller, Sky Blue FC, looks to extraordinarily be turning over a new leaf.
Less than a month after setting its attendance record with 5,003 at Rutgers’ Yurcak Field for a match against Rose Lavelle, Mallory Pugh and the Washington Spirit, Sky Blue will set a new standard.
On Thursday, it was reported over 8,000 tickets have been sold for Sky Blue’s Sunday matinee at Red Bull Arena against Megan Rapinoe, Allie Long and Reign FC.
After a downright tumultuous few years, Sky Blue seems to be trending upwards at just the right time. Interim General Manager Alyse LaHue has been a breath of fresh air off the field since her appointment in April, getting the operational wheels turning within an organization that ranked last in attendance five of the previous six seasons.
There have been improvements on the field, too; more so than marginal, but not quite yet revolutionary. Nevertheless, since Denise Reddy – who had a single win in 33 matches – was fired on June 28, Sky Blue has won three of eight matches, on top of an impressive draw against Portland at the league’s most challenging road environment, Providence Park.
Blossoming through the cracks of a broken foundation are reasons to root for an organization that is still in need of consistent fan support; reasons like young upstarts Kailen Sheridan, a 24-year-old Canadian international goalkeeper who is second in the NWSL in saves, and Imani Dorsey, a 23-year-old forward who won 2018 NWSL Rookie of the Year.
Sky Blue hopes to sell out the lower bowl of Red Bull Arena on Sunday, in a nationally televised match on ESPNews that will pin the 2015 World Cup Golden Ball winner in Carli Lloyd against the 2019 Golden Ball winner Rapinoe.