Sky Blue FC will try to finally win its first NWSL game of the season. (Jeffrey Auger Photo)
PISCATAWAY, N.J. – In a battle of the haves and havenots, last-place and winless Sky Blue FC will host the first-place and unbeaten North Carolina Courage at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers University Saturday at 7 p.m.
Former Rutgers University football players Eric LeGrand will serve as Sky Blue FC honorary captain in the National Women’s Soccer League match.
Sky Blue FC (0-4-1, 1 point) is still searching for its first win as the Courage (6-0-2, 20), under head coach Paul Riley will try to avoid its first defeat.
“We are excited to play the top-ranked team in the league on our home field,” Sky Blue FC Denise Reddy said. “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.”
Saturday marks the second meeting of the season between the teams. The first encounter was the Sky Blue FC season opener at WakeMed Soccer Park March 31. The sides battled in a scoreless stalemate until second half stoppage-time as Jaelene Hinkle found Jessica McDonald in the 92nd minute for a game-winning goal that handed the New Jersey side a 1-0 loss.
North Carolina is seven points clear of second-place Seattle Reign FC. In its most recent outing, the Courage edged the Washington Spirit last weekend in a Saturday home fixture, 1-0. Defender Abby Erceg provided the game-winner in the 63rd minute on a goal that was assisted by Hinkle.
The Courage leads the series, owning a 2-1-1 record. Their lone meeting in New Jersey last year resulted in a 1-1 draw.
After this weekend, Sky Blue FC hits the road for a midweek pairing with the Washington Spirit before it returns home to Yurcak Field next Saturday, May 26, hosting Seattle for a 7 p.m. kickoff.