Mallory Pugh won’t play in the Challenge Cup due to a right hip injury. (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports)
HARRISON, N.J. – A hip injury has sidelined U.S. women’s national team and Sky Blue FC midfielder Mallory Pugh from the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup.
She joined teammates Caprice Dydasco and Carli Lloyd as players who won’t play in the competition due to injuries.
Pugh, a U.S. allocated player acquired by Sky Blue in January via a trade with the Washington Spirit and a member of the U.S. women’s national team, suffered a right hip injury while training this off-season. She reported to the club during the full-team training phase of the pre-season.
Pugh, 22, needs additional time to fully recover and the decision was made to forego playing in the Challenge Cup.
Dydasco suffered a torn ACL in her right knee during a small group training drill.
Lloyd is also out with a minor left knee injury.
The tournament starts June 27 in Utah.
“I feel so confident about this roster heading into the NWSL Challenge Cup,” said team captain Sarah Woldmoe (formerly Killion). “We all put in the work individually during quarantine and have really put it all together collectively now. Every day I get to work with teammates who are giving it their all to improve and prepare. It’s a fantastic feeling to know that we have the talent and drive to take us all the way. We are ready to go and we are so excited about this tournament.”
Head coach Freya Coombe was just as optimistic.
“I am really happy with the team we have built at Sky Blue since the end of last season,” she said. “We have blended a talented group of experienced senior players, new signing, and some young players wanting to showcase their talent in the league. They have responded well as a group through the adversity of the last few months and have shown great resilience and mental agility. The squad continues to challenge each other every day in practice and is ready to compete for a Championship.”
Two National Women’s Soccer League veterans will debut for Sky Blue – forward Midge Purce, who acquired via a trade with Portland Thorns FC in January, and midfielder McCall Zerboni, acquired via a trade with the North Carolina Courage in January.
All four of the club’s 2020 draft picks, forward Evelyne Viens, defender Kaleigh Riehl, goalkeeper Mandy McGlynn, and defender Chantelle Swaby, have signed contracts and are on the Challenge Cup roster. Midfielders Cassidy Benintente and Nicole Baxter and defender Jennifer Cudjoe have signed short-term contracts with the club for the tournament. Defender Sabrina Flores inked a two-year deal with Sky Blue after having appeared in 2019 matches as a national team replacement player.
“There was a tremendous amount of work in the off-season to build out this roster for 2020,” Sky Blue FC general manager Alyse LaHue said. “We are incredibly proud to call all these players a member of Sky Blue and can’t wait to see them compete in the NWSL Challenge Cup together.”
Sky Blue FC roster
Rostered players (26 of 28 spots filled):
GOALKEEPERS (4): Didi Haracic, Megan Hinz, Amanda “Mandy” McGlynn, Kailen Sheridan (FED-CAN)
DEFENDERS (7): Sabrina Flores, Mandy Freeman, Estelle Johnson, Gina Lewandowski, Kaleigh Riehl, Erica Skroski, Chantelle Swaby
MIDFIELDERS (11): Cassidy Benintente, Nicole Baxter, Jennifer Cudjoe (INTL-GHA), Elizabeth Eddy, Naho Kawasumi (INTL-JPN), Margaret “Midge” Purce, Domi Richardson, Madison Tiernan, Sarah Woldmoe, Kenie Wright, McCall Zerboni
FORWARDS (4): Imani Dorsey, Paige Monaghan, Ifeoma Onumonu, Evelyne Viens (INTL-CAN)
Federations Players (FED): 1
International Players (INTL): 3
FED – 2020 Federation Player
INTL – International Player