By: Shannon Duffy
Sky Blue will kick off the 2020 NWSL Fall Series this Saturday, September 5, with their match against the Washington Spirit broadcast on CBS Television Network. As part of the series, the club will play four matches across September and October. The Fall Series matches will air on either CBS, CBS All Access, or Twitch.
Fall Series Breakdown
The nine NWSL teams have sorted into three pods, and each team will play the other two teams in their pod twice, for a total of four matches. The pod structure was organized by region to minimize travel among the clubs. Placed in the Northeast pod, Sky Blue will play home and away games against both the Chicago Red Stars and the Washington Spirit. The remaining six teams are divided into the West pod, consisting of OL Reign, Portland Thorns FC, and Utah Royals FC, and the South pod, which features the North Carolina Courage, Orlando Pride, and Houston Dash.
Sky Blue will open their Fall Series campaign this Saturday, September 5, at 1 p.m. ET against the Washington Spirit broadcast on CBS Television Network. The match is at Segra Field in Leesburg, Virginia. One month later, the two clubs will face off at Montclair State University in New Jersey on October 3 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
After finishing second in the preliminary rounds of the 2020 Challenge Cup, the Spirit established themselves as a team on the rise. The Spirit is led by NWSL veterans Aubrey Bledsoe and Tori Huster and rising talents such as Jordan DiBiasi and Ashley Sanchez. Sky Blue played the Spirit in what was a very tight Challenge Cup quarterfinal match on July 18. After a scoreless 90 minutes, Sky Blue prevailed in penalty kicks to move on to the semifinals.
Sky Blue has an all-time record against the Spirit of 8-11-4. The history of back and forth matches between the two clubs will provide an exciting home and away series this fall.
On September 20, Sky Blue will travel to SeatGeek Stadium to play the Chicago Red Stars at 1 p.m. ET broadcast on CBS All Access. The clubs will meet again a few weeks later at Montclair State University on October 10 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
The Red Stars are known for their consistent success in the NWSL, as they have made it to the playoffs five out of the league’s seven seasons and in the Challenge Cup. Bringing a wealth of experience to the Fall Series, Chicago’s roster is highlighted by U.S. Women’s National Team players Julie Ertz, Alyssa Naeher, and Casey Short and NWSL standouts Yuki Nagasato and Kealia Watt. Sky Blue recently played the Red Stars in the 2020 Challenge Cup in a thrilling semifinal. Despite putting in one of their best offensive performances and launching an exciting comeback, Sky Blue ultimately fell to the Red Stars 3-2. The Houston Dash then defeated Chicago in the Challenge Cup championship match.
Sky Blue won two of three matches against the Red Stars in 2019 and hopes to do the same in 2020 after the semifinal defeat in the Cup.
The Broadcast Schedule
|Sept. 5||1:00 p.m||Washington Spirit||Away||Segra Field||CBS & CBS All Access|
|Sept. 20||1:00 p.m.||Chicago Red Stars||Away||SeatGeek Stadium||CBS All-Access|
|Oct. 3||12:30 p.m.||Washington Spirit||Home||Montclair State Univ.||Twitch|
|Oct. 10||12:30 p.m.||Chicago Red Stars||Home||Montclair State Univ.||CBS All-Access|
And Finally… The Team
After winning its first NWSL playoff game in franchise history in the Challenge Cup, Sky Blue will carry the momentum into the Fall Series. Despite having limited time with new head coach Freya Coombe, the team has implemented her possession-oriented style. Sky Blue held the majority of possession in four out of their six Challenge Cup matches.
Fans can look forward to seeing Sky Blue newcomers Midge Purce and Jennifer Cudjoe continue their 2020 success as well as team leaders Kailen Sheridan and captain Sarah Woldmoe all suit up for the club this fall. USWNT forward Mallory Pugh has returned from injury and will likely make her Sky Blue FC debut during the Fall Series.
USWNT midfielder Carli Lloyd is still out rehabbing a knee injury as are midfielder Kenie Wright and defender Caprice Dydasco. Midfielder McCall Zerboni sustained a torn meniscus during the Challenge Cup and will miss the Fall Series to rehab. Several players have gone on loan including Elizabeth Eddy, Nahomi Kawasumi, Evelyne Viens, and the soon-to-be-announced, Kaleigh Riehl
The full 2020 NWSL Fall Series roster was released earlier today and can be viewed here.