Pre Match Stats: Sky Blue FC vs North Carolina Courage

By: Shannon Duffy
SkyBlueFC.com

Ahead of Sky Blue’s final preliminary round matchup against the North Carolina Courage on Monday, we broke down some of the team’s most notable stats so far. Take a look below and get ready to cheer on Sky Blue as they fight for top seeding heading into the Challenge Cup knockout rounds.

THE PLAYERS

Kailen Sheridan: 0.33 goals against average through three games

Sheridan’s impressive goals-against average is the best in the tournament thus far among goalkeepers who have played at least two games. She is also tied for most saves in the tournament with eight. Her near-perfect Challenge Cup performances have earned her the Verizon Save of the Match award against both the OL Reign and the Utah Royals. 

Kawasumi, Woldmoe and Lewandowski are three of only 13 field players to have played every minute of the Challenge Cup

This is a testament to the fitness of the three players, as the team has faced a very short turnaround between games. The three veteran Sky Blue leaders have been key to the team’s success early in the tournament. Nahomi Kawasumi recently earned the Budweiser Woman of the Match against Houston, Sarah Woldmoe was named the Saker ShopRite Player of the Match against the Royals, and Gina Lewandowski’s stellar defense has helped make Sky Blue one only two teams to give up less than two goals thus far in the tournament.

Estelle Johnson: 89.1% passing accuracy 

The NWSL veteran has played a big role in helping Sky Blue build out of the back. Completing 82 of her attempted 92 passes thus far over 2 games, Johnson has the best passing accuracy on the team among players who have played in more than one game. 

Midge Purce: 72.7% success rate on tackles

The Sky Blue newcomer has wasted no time making her presence known on both sides of the ball. While Purce has helped create many chances offensively, she has also played a big part in shutting down the opponents’ attack. Of the 11 tackles Purce has attempted so far, she has successfully won 8 of them. Additionally, her duels have a 60% success rate, tying her with Imani Dorsey for the best percentage on the team in this category.

THE TEAM

77.8% passing accuracy

Sky Blue tops the league in passes attempted and passes completed, with 1,332 and 1,036 respectively. Their passing accuracy is second best in the tournament through three games, as only the North Carolina Courage have completed their passes at a more successful rate. The ability of the Sky Blue players to connect with each other has helped them maintain 52% of possession in their three preliminary-round games, making the team third-best in the league in this category.

One goal conceded in three games

Sky Blue, along with the Courage, have given up the least amount of goals among the eight teams in the Challenge Cup. Only the Utah Royals were able to find the back of the net against Sky Blue’s tight defense.

THE NEXT OPPONENT: NORTH CAROLINA COURAGE

Tight competition in 2019

Sky Blue played three close games with the Courage in 2019. The two teams drew in their first outing, then the Courage came away with two narrow one-goal defeats in the following two meetings. With the two teams leading the tournament in a few key categories, Monday night’s matchup will surely be one fans don’t want to miss.

The Pride Night match between Sky Blue and the Courage will kick off Monday at 10 p.m. ET to conclude the preliminary round of the NWSL Challenge Cup. Fans in the U.S. and Canada can catch the action live on CBS All Access, while international fans can watch on Twitch.

By kickoff, Sky Blue will know what each possible result in this match will mean for its quarterfinals seeding. A win in this match will likely solidify the second place seed.