As Sunday’s deadline arrived for NWSL teams to set their rosters for the NWSL Challenge Cup, Sky Blue FC announced that Delran, N.J., native Carli Lloyd won’t play in the tournament due to a left knee injury suffered in the offseason.
“I have unfortunately picked up an injury while I was at home training,” Lloyd said in a statement. “I was optimistic about being able to return in time for the NWSL Challenge Cup, but my injury is going to require more time to recover. ... I look forward to continuing my recovery, and I am excited to get back on the field when I am ready.”
Sky Blue didn’t disclose exactly when the injury occurred.
Lloyd’s absence will deprive the team of not just its biggest star, but its leading goal scorer last year. She scored eight goals in just 14 appearances for the team in 2019, playing around the World Cup and various U.S. national team friendlies.
The NWSL Challenge Cup starts Saturday with a matchup of the league’s two biggest teams, the North Carolina Courage and Portland Thorns, televised nationally on CBS (12:30 p.m.). Sky Blue’s first game is June 30 against Tacoma, Wash.-based OL Reign (10 p.m.), so named because it’s owned by French club Lyon.
Utah Royals star Christen Press has also reportedly opted out. Teams’ rosters will be officially announced Monday.
All nine teams in the league will be based in a tournament bubble in the Salt Lake City area. Games through the quarterfinals will be played at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Utah, home of MLS team Real Salt Lake’s youth academy. The organization also owns the Royals. Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, where the Royals and RSL play, will host the semifinals and final.
CBS will televise Saturday’s opening game and the July 26 final. All other games will be live on the network’s subscription streaming platform, CBS All Access, which costs $5.99 per month.
So far, there has been one positive coronavirus test among NWSL players. The announcement was made last Thursday. The player’s identity and the date of the test are not known
June 30: vs. OL Reign (10 p.m.)
July 5: vs. Houston Dash (12:30 p.m.)
July 9: vs. Orlando Pride (10 p.m.)
July 13: vs. Chicago Red Stars (12:30 p.m.)
July 17-18: Quarterfinals
July 22: Semifinals
July 26: Final