Neighboring clubs the Flash and Sky Blue will duke it out in their first ever NWSL match. It is unlikely that either team will stray from their successful preseason formations as the Flash will play a 4-4-2 formation and Sky Blue deploy in 4-3-3.
The obstacles lying ahead for the Flash will be whether their starting defenders can maintain a clean sheet against Kelley O’Hara and Danesha Adams. Based on the Flash’ preseason matches they will likely start Brittany Taylor, Alex Sahlen, Bryanna McCarthy, and Estelle Johnson. This starting squad proved effective as the Flash won all of their preseason matches against professional teams with three shutouts and 14 goals, not including a 2-1 victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels.
The battle for the midfield will be exciting as both the Flash and Sky Blue are represented by tenacious athletes with experienced backgrounds. McCall Zerboni will likely be the Flash's key playmaker and Abby Wambach’s outlet to create scoring opportunities. Sky Blue will need to rely on Sophie Schmidt to remain persistent and connect with O’Hara for the chance to create a lead in the game. Frierson is another midfielder that the Flash should observe closely on the field as she has already recorded two goals during SBFC's pre-season match against St. John’s.
The Flash will play without Sarah Huffman and Carli Lloyd. Lloyd is out with a broken left shoulder which is currently being rehabbed, and is expected to be out of commission for 6-8 weeks. Huffman is recovering from a recently sprained MCL. Sky Blue will be without Jill Loyden who is expected to miss a portion of the NWSL season due to a broken bone in her left hand which she sustained during a training session following her successful shutout match against Iceland at the Algarve Cup.
Western New York Flash injuries
Out: Carli Loyd (left shoulder), Sarah Huffman (sprained MCL)
Sky Blue FC injuries
Out: Jill Loyden (left hand).
Match Date\Time: Sunday April 14, 6:00pm EDT.
Venue: Yurcak Field, Piscataway, New Jersey.
Online: NWSL's YouTube channel.