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Are Sky Blue going to ruin your team’s playoff chances?

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[shakes magic 8 ball] SIGNS POINT TO YES

SOCCER: JUL 20 NWSL - Sky Blue FC at Orlando Pride Photo by Joe Petro/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Sky Blue FC used to be the butt of a lot of jokes. Their last-place position on the table made them the “easy points” of the league. Those days are coming to an end - Sky Blue has new blood, new management, and new coaches. They’re not going to win the league, but this is not 2018, when they were just happy to finish the season with their only win of the year after 17 losses and six ties. They’re not bottom of the table anymore either; they’re second from the bottom, so suck on that one.

Speaking of which, in their August 14 midweek game, they even handed a road loss to the #2 Chicago Red Stars, with rookie Paige Monaghan dropping a sizzling hot goal in the dying minutes of stoppage to take it all 2-1. She took Chicago to the hibachi grill and made them watch her order that flaming onion volcano.

Sky Blue has seven games left in the season. They’ll be playing, in order:

Reign FC (H)
Houston Dash (A)
NC Courage (H)
Chicago Red Stars (H)
Reign FC (A)
Orlando Pride (H)
NC Courage (A)

H - Sky Blue home game
A - Sky Blue away game

Of those teams, the Reign, Courage, and Stars all all jockeying for position in the top four, with the Dash just four points out of playoff position. With Orlando the only team on this list currently behind Sky Blue, it’s probably safe to say that we don’t need to include them in this speculation. A couple of bad games for one team, a handful of good ones for another, and you could find yourself kicked out of the top four faster than you can say hot pork sandwich.

Sky Blue has absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain, and sometimes that’s the most freeing thing about being at the bottom. So are Sky Blue going to ruin your team’s playoff chances?

Chicago Red Stars

When the Red Stars look good, they look great. When they look bad, they lose to Sky Blue 2-1...twice (both times with Sam Kerr on the field, it must be noted). They also have several games in their upcoming schedule where they should be the strong favorites. So losing three points to Sky Blue FC wouldn’t be a disaster on its own, but could have implications for their playoff seeding. Is there a mental component to seeing Sky Blue as a team they should be beating, but just aren’t? Possibly; every team is capable of picking up a bugaboo, and maybe Sky Blue is Chicago’s 2019 bugaboo. Maybe Chicago will be like, well that’s enough of that, and open up in a 4-0 game.

Odds of Sky Blue messing them up: low

Houston Dash

The Dash are the most in danger of falling just short of playoffs among the teams listed here, and you get the sense if they do get in, they’ll scrape through as the #4 seed with a vital three points. They’ve got a tough-ish schedule where they’ll definitely need to take points off the Royals, who are sitting just above them in the standings. Even one loss could be the difference. If Sky Blue decides that narrowly losing twice to Houston this season already was quite enough...

Odds of Sky Blue messing them up: high

North Carolina Courage

It is not a given that the Courage will roast Sky Blue. In their previous meeting this season, they had a 0-0 draw. And as opposed to 2018, when the Courage took off like a slingshot and no one could catch them, as of right now they’re third on the table, only four points ahead of fifth-place Utah. That’s six points that Sky Blue has the opportunity to take off of them. Likelihood they’ll get all six points? Slimmer than a single cheese slice. And even if Sky Blue hold them to two ties, giving them only two points out of their games, odds are that would only shuffle their order in the top four instead of taking them out of playoffs outright. But if Sky Blue can scrap their way to two ties, and NC takes hits from any other teams - well, wouldn’t that be interesting.

Odds of Sky Blue messing them up: low

Reign FC

The Reign need these points. Boy oh boy they need these points. They’ve got Utah breathing down their neck and their storyline this season is probably that Vlatko Andonovski is a genius for somehow cobbling together all their wins despite missing approximately 900 players due to injuries. They’re capable of putting together wins over big time opponents, but then struggling to get one over on Washington or Houston. If Sky Blue can manage to take even a couple of points off of them with a tie, it could be the difference between fourth or fifth place.

Odds of Sky Blue messing them up: moderate to high

How do you think the rest of Sky Blue’s season will play out? Are they on a general upswing?