Another slate of weekend matches is set to start in the National Women's Soccer League and the current NWSL Shield winners, the North Carolina Courage, will be hosting Sky Blue FC on Saturday evening.
The Courage are still a powerful team despite national team call ups
North Carolina will be without the services of Abby Dahlkemper, Crystal Dunn, Jessica McDonald and Samantha Mewis who have all been called up to the United States Women's National Team roster for the World Cup. For most teams, losing three players of that calibre would give their fans pause for concern but the Courage have enough in not only their first eleven but on their bench, to keep their strong start to the season going.
The likes of Lynn Williams and McCall Zerboni are still available for the team, and Abby Erceg is still available in the backline before she too heads off to the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup with the USWNT. Against a team in Sky Blue FC that has not picked up a win yet, the Courage still be able to pick up a win at home despite the loss of talent to their starting eleven.
Sky Blue look to cause an upset
Last weekend, Sky Blue FC managed to pull off a surprising result as they held the visiting Portland Thorns FC to a 2-2 draw in New Jersey. Sky Blue's two goals were scored by Carli Lloyd, who will be unavailable due to her call up to the USWNT World Cup roster, but their fans will be happy with what the team produced against one of the stronger teams in the league.
Goals could become an issue for Sky Blue in Lloyd's absence and against a team as potent as North Carolina who are also very defensively sound, Sky Blue will have to see if Nahomi Kawasumi can fill the gap left by Lloyd in terms of creativity and hope that Jen Hoy can find the back of the net on a regular basis this season.
Kick off is scheduled for 7:00PM EST on Saturday, May 4th at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina. Viewers in the United States can watch the game on Yahoo!Sports, NWSLSoccer.com or the NWSL app for international viewers.