Team Name: Sky Blue FC
Head Coach: Freya Coombe
Last Year’s Finish: 5-5-14, 8th overall
Following the late season exit of Denise Reddy, Freya Coombe’s interim reign began to bring the full realization of Sky Blue FC’s reboot with a string of positive results to finish the 2019 campaign. Carli Lloyd’s eight goals led the way for the New Jersey club, who rode the positivity of two Red Bull Arena matches to earn late season victories against playoff sides Reign FC and Chicago Red Stars.
Key Players In: McCall Zerboni, Margaret Purce, Evelyne Viens
Key Players Out: Caprice Dydasco (INJ), Carli Lloyd (INJ), Mallory Pugh (INJ)
Player to Watch: Margaret Purce (FWD)
— Portland Thorns FC (@ThornsFC) August 27, 2019
With Carli Lloyd injured, Sky Blue will turn to its largely refreshed attack this summer in hopes of making a dark horse run for NWSL Challenge Cup glory. With Mallory Pugh additionally missing out on Sky Blue’s trip to Utah, newly acquired Margaret “Midge” Purce may be Freya Coombe’s answer to a massive question in the attack this summer. Tallying eight goals and one assist in a breakout season with Thorns FC last summer, look for the versatile Purce to feature heavily for Sky Blue on the attack in the Challenge Cup.
Challenge Cup Outlook: While many will lament who’s hasn’t made the trip to Utah this summer for Sky Blue, much can be gained by who will be joining – Sabrina Flores will stabilize a depleted wingback core and McCall Zerboni’s leadership and midfield tenacity are a welcomed addition to Freya Coombe’s desire to build a winning mentality around the team. Coombe has already publicly expressed how impressed she is with the club’s rookies in training camp, so fans should keep an eye on the highly touted Evelyn Viens and Kaleigh Riehl to pick up meaningful minutes in Utah.