There’s no stopping Sam Kerr these days. (Photo by Jeffrey Auger)
The best player in the National Women’s Soccer League at the moment?
Try Sam Kerr.
She is on fire and then some.
Case in point:
The Australian international struck for a remarkable hat-trick in the final 12 minutes to turn Sky Blue FC’s game with FC Kansas City upside down, rallying the home side from a two-goal deficit into a 3-2 triumph at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J. Saturday night.
For her performance, Kerr was named winner FrontRowSoccer.com’s player of the week for the second consecutive time. Last week Kerr also was chosen as the winner of the website’s goal of the week. The Sky Blue FC forward has been named this website’s player of the week three times this season; the first selection May 15.
Kerr also was named NWSL player of the month for May and June and she has gotten off to a pretty good start for July. She was named winner of the NWSL goal of the week for her bicycle kick in the 3-2 home loss to the Orlando Pride. She then tallied the game-winning goal in the 1-0 road triumph over the North Carolina Courage Saturday, July 1.
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.”
Kerr also became the all-time leading goal-scorer in NWSL history, overtaking North Carolina Courage forward Jess McDonald with 35 career goals.
With Sky Blue trailing 2-0 in the 78th minute Saturday, Kerr became a one-woman wrecking crew.
Right back Sarah Killion collected a distribution before sending it up the flank for Kelley 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.
FrontRowSoccer.com player of the week winners
Week 1 (March 6) — Joseph Bendik (Orlando City SC)
Week 2 (March 13) — David Villa (New York City FC)
Week 3 (March 20) — Rodney Wallace (New York City FC)
Week 4 (March 27) — Vincent Bezecourt (New York Red Bulls II)
Week 5 (April 3) — Ronald Matarrita (New York City FC)
Week 6 (April 10) — Jimmy Maurer (New York Cosmos)
Week 7 (April 17) — Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls)
Week 8 (April 24) — Alex Muyl (New York Red Bulls)
Week 9 (May 1) — Jack Harrison (New York City FC)
Week 10 (May 8) — Rodney Wallace (New York City FC)
Week 11 (May 15) — Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC)
Week 12 (May 22) — David Villa (New York City FC)
Week 13 (May 29) — Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls)
Week 14 (June 5) — Alex Callens and Maxime Chanot (New York City FC)
Week 15 (June 12) — No award given
Week 16 (June 19) — Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), David Villa (New York City FC)
Week 17 (June 26) — Ben Sweat (New York City FC)
Week 18 (July 3) — Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC)
Week 19 (July 10) — Sam Kerr (Sky Blue FC)