By Meg Linehan
Sky Blue FC forward Samantha Kerr has been named the Player of the Week for Week 9 by the NWSL Media Association following her performance on Saturday vs. Portland Thorns FC.
Kerr contributed an early assist on Sky Blue midfielder Raquel Rodriguez’s first minute goal, then added two strikes of her own in the second half. Kerr’s involvement with every goal in Sky Blue’s win at Providence Park boosted the team into third place on the table with a 5-4-1 record.
Kerr gave Sky Blue a 2-0 lead in the 70th minute. Kelley O’Hara cleared a Portland free kick from the back line and found the head of Maya Hayes, who pushed it forward to Kerr. With the Thorns back line caught behind her on the offside trap, Kerr only had to beat goalkeeper Adrianna Franch for the eventual game-winning goal.
In the 88th minute, Sky Blue midfielder Madison Tiernan launched Kerr with a ball over the top, and Kerr once again won the foot race against the Portland defense. This time, Franch came aggressively off her line to try and cut down the angle but Kerr flicked it past her and calmly finished off her second goal in the bottom right corner.
With Saturday’s brace, she also became Sky Blue FC’s new franchise all-time leading scorer with 15 goals for the New Jersey club. Kerr now has 30 career regular season goals, good for third all-time in NWSL history. She joins former Seattle Reign midfielder Kim Little and North Carolina Courage forward Jessica McDonald in the 30-goal club.
This isn’t the first honor for Kerr this season. Last month, the NWSL Media Association honored her with the May Player of the Month award for her two goals and two assists through five games that month.
Kerr has picked up Player of the Week honors twice before in her career. Her first came as a member of the Western New York Flash in 2014, another two goal/one assist performance in Week 9 against Portland Thorns FC. In 2016, she won the award with Sky Blue FC after scoring two goals in two matches during Week 18 against the Orlando Pride.
The NWSL Player of the Week is selected each week of the regular season by the NWSL Media Association, a collection of writers that cover the league on a consistent basis. For more information on the NWSL Media Association, follow them on Twitter.