Sam Kerr scores the game-winner for Sky Blue FC in its 3-2 comeback win over FC Kansas City. (Photo by Jeffrey Auger)

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Sam Kerr did it again Saturday night.

And again.

And again.

The Australian international, who has turned the National Women’s Soccer League upside down with some memorable goals and performances, actually outdid herself. She connected for an incredible 12-minute hat-trick to boost Sky Blue FC to a 3-2 comeback triumph over 10-player FC Kansas City at Yurcak Field.

Kerr also became the all-time leading goal-scorer in NWSL history, overtaking North Carolina Courage forward  Jess McDonald with 35 career goals.

The hat-trick pulled her into a tie with Megan Rapinoe for the league lead with nine goals apiece this season.

“Sam is playing at a different level right now,” Sky Blue FC head coach Christy Holly said. “The most exciting thing about Sam is we truly believe there is still more to come from her. She is very young, and she is still very early in her development. These are the moments where she is proving to be one of the best players in the world. As her coach and as a fan, we could not be any prouder of her.”

The victory improved Sky Blue FC (22 points) to 7-6-1, while FC Kansas City (13) fell to 3-6-4.

With Sky Blue trailing 2-0 in the 78th minute, Kerr became a one-woman wrecking crew before a crowd of 2,091.

Right back Sarah Killion collected a distribution before sending it up the flank for O’Hara. O’Hara delivered the ball into the penalty area. A speeding Kerr ran under the cross before redirecting a diving header past goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart to slice the lead in half.

In the 81st minute, Taylor Lytle had possession in the midfield before playing Daphne Corboz in front of her. Corboz hit Raquel Rodriguez with a one-two ball before sending a hard roller towards Kerr inside the 18-yard box. Kerr hammered a right-footed rocket that did not afford Barnhart any time to react for the 2-2 equalizer.

Kerr finished off her one-woman show in the 90th minute. Some 25 yards from the goal, Corboz sent a ball to Lytle, who one-timed it towards Kerr as she made a run into the penalty area. Kerr rolled the feed with her right foot before poking it past Barnhart for the game-winner and cap one of the most impressive performances in NWSL history.

Video courtesy of Sky Blue FC Facebook page

FC Kansas City opened the scoring in the 29th minute. A ball was crossed into the area from the right flank and punched away by goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. A clearance attempt landed at the feet of defender Christina Gibbons, who back-heeled a ball to Katie Bowen on top of the 18-yard box. Bowen drove a hard shot into the net for a 1-0 edge.

The visitors’ lead was increased to 2-0 in the 42nd minute. Desiree Scott gained possession in the midfield before playing Gibbons. Gibbons ran into the right side of the area before striking a shot that Sheridan nearly kick-saved, but the ball deflected into the goal.

Four minutes into first-half stoppage time, Sky Blue FC defender Erica Skroski was played a ball by Sheridan as KC forward Shea Groom closed in her to dispossess. The two got tangled up as Groom headed upfield. Skroski received a yellow card for impeding her progress and Groom was red carded after she threw her hands to the face of Skroski.

Sky Blue FC played the rest of the match with a player advantage.

“Tonight’s game is a direct representation of the incredible character that each and every one of our players has,” Holly said. “What we saw in terms of their tenacity and competitive edge, but also their desire to work for each other, sums up everything that we know about this team. The unity amongst them and their belief in one another is very special.”


Scoring Summary: 

29′ — KC Katie Bowen (Christina Gibbons)
42′ —  KC Christina Gibbons (Desiree Scott)
78′ —  NJ Sam Kerr (Kelley O’Hara)
81′ —  NJ Sam Kerr (Daphne Corboz)
90′ —  NJ Sam Kerr (Taylor Lytle)

NJ: Sheridan, Skroski (Galton-67), Freeman (Mills-27), Pearce, O’Hara, Rodriguez, Killion, Corboz, Tiernan (Lytle-47), Kerr, Hayes
Subs not usedCasey, Meehan, Stanton, DeCesare
Head Coach: Christy Holly 

KC: Barnhart, Moros, Sauerbrunn, Averbuch, Taylor, Ratcliffe (Flynn-57), Gibbons, Scott, Bowen (Kelly-72), Leroux, Groom
Subs Not Used: Tymrak, Parkhill, Newfield
Head Coach: Vlatko Andonovski

Stats Summary: NJ / KC
Shots: 28 / 16
Saves:  10 / 5
Corner Kicks: 8 / 7
Fouls:  5 / 4
Offside:  1 / 1

Misconduct Summary: 
45+4 NJ Erica Skroski (Yellow Card)
45+4 NJ Shea Groom (Red Card)

Referee: Amber O’Connor
Assistant Referee 1: Benjamin Wooten
Assistant Referee 2: Amilcar Sicauju
Fourth Official: Jorge Ramirez


Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at