Kacey White and Sky Blue FC look to avenge an earlier defeat to the Philadelphia Independence (Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).
7:00 p.m. Kickoff Slated Between Northeastern Rivals
Somerset, N.J. (Friday, May 18, 2010) – Sky Blue FC (4-3-2, 14 points) will be looking to even the season series with the Philadelphia Independence (4-3-2, 14 points) on Saturday, hosting its northeastern rival at 7:00 p.m. at Yurcak Field in Piscataway. An extra bit of importance will also be riding on the outcome of this match, with both sides currently deadlocked at third place in the Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) Standings.
“As a team, we have been looking forward to getting even with Philadelphia,” said Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen, whose team suffered a tight 2-1 defeat to the Independence at West Chester University two weekends ago. “We feel like we have something to prove, and we expect to come out and give our best effort from the opening whistle.”
Sky Blue FC enters Saturday’s game following a dramatic win over the Boston Breakers this past Sunday, 2-1. After falling behind in the first half of that match, Sky Blue FC midfielder Heather O’Reilly leveled the score at one each by knocking in an unassisted tally in the 52nd minute. The team then won the contest in thrilling fashion, with Rosana converting a penalty kick in stoppage time.
“It builds a lot of confidence when a team is able to prove that it can come from behind and win games,” Miettinen stated. “With that being said, it is very important that we prevent those types of situations from occurring. We must focus our efforts on starting quickly and scoring the first goal so we don’t have to spend our time chasing the other team.”
Sky Blue FC will have a bit of a new-look lineup on Saturday, with four of the team’s impact players missing the match due to international responsibilities. Goalkeeper Karen Bardsley (England), forward Laura Kalmari (Finland), defender Daphne Koster (Netherlands) and forward Jessica Landstrom (Sweden) will all be off the roster this weekend, and a few new faces will be inserted into the Starting XI. In goal for Sky Blue FC will be Kristin Luckenbill, while defender Christie Rampone and midfielder Kendall Fletcher will be making their first starts for the team this season. Also positioned on the game day roster for potentially her first professional minutes is midfielder Angela Salem, who has consistently proven her skill set as a developmental player for Sky Blue FC.
“We have incredible depth on our squad,” Miettinen commented. “When we have to make adjustments to our roster, I can honestly say that it does not make me worry at all. It doesn’t matter who we put on the field because I know they will step up and give everything they have.”
The first 1,000 fans who come through the gates on Saturday will receive a free Heather O’Reilly player card, courtesy of Big Apple Soccer. Fans are also encouraged to show off their World Cup Fever by wearing the colors and bringing the flag of their respective nations.
Sky Blue FC is also an active participant in the Donate Your Gear program to benefit the Schools of Niger, Africa, and the team invites fans to join them in the worthy cause of donating gently used items for the fourth world nation. Among the items which fans are encouraged to bring to any of the remaining Sky Blue FC home games include clothing, cleats, balls, equipment, coaches' gear and water bottles. Drop boxes will be positioned at the entrance to Yurcak Field for those who wish to contribute.