The Sky Blue FC coaching staff talks strategy before the team's game this past Wednesday (Photo by Howard C. Smith, ISI Photos).
Team Playing Chicago Red Stars on Saturday Night
Somerset, N.J. (Friday, July 9, 2010) – Sky Blue FC (5-4-3, 18 points) will fly out to the Midwest tonight, as the team prepares for a Saturday night pairing with the Chicago Red Stars (3-5-5, 14 points). Kickoff for the match, which will be Sky Blue FC’s second match in four days, is set for 7:00 p.m.
“The girls have looked sharp, and we are excited about facing another big test in Chicago tomorrow,” Sky Blue FC head coach Pauliina Miettinen stated. “We possessed the ball very well in our game against Washington two days ago, and that enabled us to play at a smart pace and not exhaust ourselves.”
For the first time this season, Sky Blue FC and the Washington Freedom played one another at Yurcak Field this past Wednesday. Despite both sides creating some good opportunities, the result of the match was a scoreless stalemate after 90 minutes of play. One player who provided a big spark at halftime for Sky Blue FC was Italian National Team captain Patrizia Panico, who was making her debut performance in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS).
“Patrizia is just a soccer player,” Miettinen confirmed. “Not only is she very experienced, but she also demands a very high level of play from herself every time she touches the field. She reads the game very well and has the ability to always be a step ahead of the action. She comes from a culture that is completely engulfed in the game of soccer, and that makes her approach every match with a highly sophisticated demeanor.”
One hardship that Sky Blue FC will have to overcome on Saturday is its missing of four players due to a call-up by U.S. National Team head coach Pia Sundhage. The USWNT will play of pair against Sweden in the next eight days, with the first game being on Tuesday at Morrison Stadium in Omaha. Gone from the weekend roster for Sky Blue FC will be midfielder Heather O’Reilly, as well as defenders Christie Rampone and Meg Schnur. Also called up to national team camp was midfielder Carli Lloyd, who is still rehabilitating an early season ankle injury.
“Obviously, we’ll have to mix it up a little bit with our lineup, but we don’t have a single player on our roster that hasn’t played for us this season,” Miettinen said. “While we will surely miss the players on national team duty, we have a lot of confidence in the players who will step up in their absence. Chicago is missing some key players as well, so this is something that will also affect their lineup.”
This match marks the third meeting of the year between these two clubs, with Sky Blue FC holding a 2-0 advantage heading into Saturday’s duel. Fans who wish to keep up with the action can do so by following WPS Match Tracker or the official Sky Blue FC Twitter page @SkyBlueFC.
After facing Chicago on Saturday, Sky Blue FC returns home to Yurcak Field on Sunday, July 18th, when it hosts Hope Solo and the Atlanta Beat at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for that game are available now by calling 1-888-SBFC-TIX.