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Sky Blue vs Houston Dash Preview

When? 7 p.m. PT, 10 p.m. ET (July 8) and 3 a.m. BST (July 9)

Where? Zions Bank Stadium, Utah

Watch? CBS All Access for residents of the US and Canada, Twitch for International viewers.

These two teams come into this intriguing clash off of completely different results. Houston have a made a bright start to this tournament, opening up with a 3-3 draw with the Utah Royals before dispatching the OL Reign 2-0. Sky Blue, however, are yet to even get on the score sheet having drawn 0-0 with OL Reign in matchday 1 before falling 0-1 to Utah in their latest game.

Sky Blue were many people’s potential dark horses, coming into the tournament. However, the loss of Carli Lloyd and Mallory Pugh ahead of the tournament has been a huge blow. Pugh scored twice and laid on 2 assists in 2019 whilst with the Spirit, whilst Lloyd’s career goal output speaks for itself. Sky Blue have since struggled to even threaten finding the back of the net, only landing 3 shots on goal in the first 2 games. All three game in the opening day draw with the Reign. In addition to Lloyd (left knee) and Pugh (right hip), the New Jersey outfit are also without Caprice Dydasco (right knee) and Madison Tiernan (right ankle).

The Dash, however, have certainly hit the ground running. Houston has 5 goals in the tournament so far. Rachel Daly and Shae Groom have both scored twice, with Kristie Mewis registering the other effort. All whilst only registering 7 shots on target. Clinical. Daly, in particular, seems to be full of confidence and thriving in her favoured forward role.

Houston will be monitoring the availability and fitness of Nichelle Patrice Prince (personal) and star forward Rachel Daly (right thigh).

Key match-up

McCall Zerboni v Shae Groom

Zerboni started on the bench in Sky Blue’s last outing, but you have to fancy that she will be reinstalled to the starting line-up for this game. Particularly when you consider the danger posed by Shae Groom for Houston. Groom has displayed a keen eye for goal in the past, with 17 goals in 54 games between 2015 and 2017 for FC Kansas City. She has lost her way a little in that regard over recent seasons, but seems to have rediscovered her goal scoring touch in Houston with 2 in 2. Zerboni will need to get to grips with Groom, if Sky Blue are to have any chance in this game.

Sky Blue FC

Goalkeepers (4): Didi Haracic, Megan Hinz, Amanda “Mandy” McGlynn (CDP), Kailen Sheridan (FED-CAN)

Defenders (9): Jennifer Cudjoe (INT-GHA), Sabrina Flores, Mandy Freeman, Estelle Johnson, Gina Lewandowski, Kaleigh Riehl (CDP), Domi Richardson, Erica Skroski, Chantelle Swaby (CDP)

Midfielders (9): Cassidy Benintente, Nicole Baxter, Elizabeth Eddy, Naho Kawasumi (INT-JPN), Margaret “Midge” Purce, Madison Tiernan, Sarah Woldmoe, Kenie Wright, McCall Zerboni

Forwards (5): Imani Dorsey, Paige Monaghan, Ifeoma Onumonu, Domi Richardson, Evelyne Viens (INT-CAN/CDP)

Houston Dash

Goalkeepers (3): Jane Campbell, Amanda Dennis, Lindsey Harris

Defenders (5): Allysha Chapman, Katie Naughton, Megan Oyster, Ally Prisock, Erin Simon

Midfielders (8): Shea Groom, Haley Hanson, Cece Kizer, Kristie Mewis, Christine Nairn, Cami Privett, Sophie Schmidt, Bri Visalli

Forward (8): Bridgette Andrzejewski (CDP), Rachel Daly (INT-ENG), Jamia Fields, Veronica Latsko, Maegan Kelly, Kayla McCoy, Nichelle Prince, Katie Stengel

By Dan Berridge

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