June 3, 2011

WPS Friday Night: Sky Blue at Western New York

Sky Blue FC at Western New York Flash (7 pm eastern, Friday)
Sahlen Stadium, Rochester, New York.

Western New York Flash (6-0-1, 19 pts)
Coach: Aaran Lines
Goalkeepers: A. Harris, B. Cameron.
Defenders: A. Riley, K. Wilson, G. Lewandowki, K. Brandao, A. Sahlen.
Midfielders: C. Seger, B. Edwards, B. Bock, Y. Averbuch, M. Zerboni, Maurine, B. Goebel.
Forwards: Marta, C. Sinclair, G. Davison, K. Fountain.
Not active: C. Chapman (injured), W. Engen, A. Morgan, A. Bowers.

Sky Blue FC (2-3-1, 7 pts)
Coach: Jim Gabarra
Goalkeepers: J. Branam, K. Bardsley.
Defenders: B. Taylor, A. Asante, C. Dew, K. Fletcher, D. Johnson.
Midfielders: A. Long, T. Sjögran, C. Blank, A. Kerr, A. Mautz.
Forwards: E. Aluko, C. Nogueira, L. Kalmari, Adriana (questionable).
Not active: L. Johnson (injured), T. Heath, H. O'Reilly, K. Arnold, E. Guthrie, M. Wenino, J. Clark.

Sky Blue visits Rochester to play the Flash for the second time this season. The first contest ended in a 3-1 victory for Western New York. Both teams will be missing key players because of the USWNT's game against Mexico on Sunday.

Western New York has been a very tough home team so far, winning all four games and scoring three goals in each. The Flash are a very hard team to deal with offensively speaking. Alex Morgan will be gone, but Marta and Christine Sinclair will be a tough pair to stop in any case. Those two have combined for seven goals and midfielder Caroline Seger has added three goals of her own.

Midfielder Becky Edwards is off to a fine start with two goals already this season and has been solid defensively. The Flash will be missing two key members of their back line, Whitney Engen and the injured Candace Chapman. Western New York does have depth on defense and Gina Lewandowski will most likely see her second straight start. Ashlyn Harris is having a good season in goal and looks to keep her record unbeaten.

After a slow start, Sky Blue has come on with two straight wins. Last week, it was late winner from Carolyn Blank that lifted them to victory over Boston.

Sky Blue will be missing midfielders Tobin Heath and Heather O'Reilly. But like WNY, these absences are in Sky Blue's strongest and deepest positions. New Jersey's midfield should be ably filled with Therese Sjögran, Allie Long, Angie Kerr, and Blank.

Adriana is listed as questionable up front for Sky Blue. That means the offensive duties will be split between Eni Aluko, Laura Kalmari, and Casey Nogueira.

Sky Blue's back line will feel intense pressure in this match. Captain Brittany Taylor and her teammates will have a tough time keeping Western New York in check. Jen Branam has been getting the nod in goal and as perhaps the league's most aggressive keeper, she will surely be busy in this match.

Sky Blue is currently tied for 4th place with Boston and has two games in hand. Any points out of this tough road match will be welcomed for the New Jersey squad. Meanwhile, Western New York keeps sailing along and has yet to be challenged for their league supremacy.