Carli Lloyd and her Sky Blue teammates celebrate her game-winning goal in the season finale. (Photo by Jeff Auger)
By Michael Lewis
The less said the better about Sky Blue FC’s abysmal National Women’s Soccer League season.
But we have to detail one of the worst seasons in women’s and pro soccer history in the United States.
The New Jersey-based club finished the year with a 1-17-6 mark and the fewest points (9) in league history.
The record was held by 2016 Boston Breakers (3-15-2), which recorded 11 points that season. Sky Blue FC also broke the mark for the most defeats in a season. The record was held by 2016 Boston Breakers (3-15-2), which recorded 11 points that season. Sky Blue FC also broke the mark for the most defeats in a season.
As it turned out, Sky Blue FC avoided a winless season in dramatic fashion Sept. 8 as U.S. international Carli Lloyd scored a goal late in the second half to give the hosts a 1-0 win over Orlando Pride (8-10-6, 30) at Yurcak Field in its season finale.
“Needless to say, we are all excited to end the season on a win today,” said Denise Reddy, who managed to survive the entire season as head coach. “Before the game, we spoke about putting all of the previous results behind us and just focusing on this opportunity that we had in front of us. We came out with a mentality to just go for it, get it and keep it. These players are so deserving of this result, and I am really happy that they get to finish off the season with a win.”
There were a few reasons to smile about Sky Blue, such as forward Imani Dorsey earning rookie of the year honors.
Dorsey, 22, was the fifth overall selection by Sky Blue FC in the 2018 NWSL College Draft. The Duke University graduate opted to finish up her degree before joining the club full-time and making her professional debut against the Washington Spirit on June 8. Despite playing in just 13 total games during the 2018 season, Dorsey still finished the year with a team-leading four goals (tied with Katie Johnson and Lloyd) while adding an assist. Her four goals were also the highest total among NWSL rookies.
“Imani has an incredible mentality and work ethic,” Reddy said. “She was able to come into the team and quickly adapt to the professional environment, which is very difficult for a rookie to do. From game to game, she showed continual progression and played a vital role for the club. She is definitely worthy of receiving this honor, and we could not be any more excited for her.”
And such as goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan, who tied Washington Spirit keeper Aubrey Bledsoe for the league saves record with 108 each.
But there was little else.
As 2019 is about to dawn, there is nowhere to go but up for Sky Blue FC.
Saturday: Story No. 9