Western NY Flash (6-4-6, 24 pts) vs. Sky Blue FC (9-3-4, 31 pts)
Sunday, 1:30 pm ET
Sahlen’s Stadium/ Rochester, NY
Broadcast live on Fox Soccer
Out: Kelley O’Hara (right ankle sprain)
Probable: Lindsi Cutshall (right ankle sprain), Monica Ocampo (right shoulder sprain)
Western New York:
Out: Victoria DiMartino (right knee MCL sprain)
Probable: Jodi-Ann Robinson (right hand fracture)
Debuting on TV in the second match aired on Fox Soccer, the Western New York Flash will take on Sky Blue FC at home on Sunday. This will be the fourth regular season match-up between these two powerful squads. The past three games have resulted in two victories for the Flash and one for Sky Blue FC.
Each game for these two teams is becoming increasingly more significant as only five games remain in the regular season. The Flash currently sit at fourth place, which is the final playoff position. Yet, the fifth place Boston Breakers are close behind and with the success they have been having lately (a four game unbeaten streak), it is truly imperative that the Flash secure these three points in order to keep a comfortable lead and their hopes of playoffs alive. A win for the Flash on Sunday could potentially move them into third, given that FC Kansas City loses their match against the Seattle Reign.
What To Expect:
The Flash have been the Achilles heel for first-place Sky Blue, with two of the three overall losses for Sky Blue coming from Western New York. Yet, with that being said, Sky Blue currently has the best away record of the NWSL (5-2-0). The Sky Blue backline will need to shut down Abby Wambach, who comes into this game tied for first alongside Sydney Leroux and Lauren Holiday for the most goals in the league. Analyzing their performances from last weekend, the Flash put up an entertaining and exceptional battle against the second place Portland Thorns. Adrianna Franch, the Flash goalkeeper, made a series of crucial saves and out of twenty shots taken by Portland she only allowed one in. She was evidently an integral part of securing the Flash’s one point. Expect to see a continuation in her extremely strong goalkeeping as well as an aggressive attacking front led by Wambach and Kerr.
As for Sky Blue, they were unable to find the back of the net in their most recent game against the Breakers. Head coach Jim Gabarra stated that that game was probably the midfield’s poorest game of the year. Yet, that game saw the return of forward Lisa De Vanna, who is one of the top NWSL goal scorers, as well as Caitlin Foord and Sophie Schmidt. De Vanna is a highly skilled and extremely fast player, someone that the Flash backline should keep an eye out for. Not only that, Sky Blue also has a powerhouse in goal, Brittany Cameron. Cameron currently leads the league in shutouts and has consistently proven to be a strong and reliable player. Expect to see strong goalkeeping as well as a tighter midfield in comparison to last game.
Score Prediction: 2-1 in favor of Sky Blue with goals from Schmidt and De Vanna (goal from Wambach for WNY)