PISCATAWAY, N.J. — For the first time in four years, Sky Blue FC hosted a sellout crowd Wednesday night at its match against the Washington Spirit.
The team last accomplished this in the 2015 National Women’s Soccer League season.
Sky Blue is celebrating the official return of Carli Lloyd, who is playing her first match since winning the Women’s World Cup with the United States earlier this month. Additionally, the team’s other World Cup attendees, Cameroon’s Estelle Johnson and Canada’s Kailen Sheridan, are set to be feted following the match.
Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle, fellow World Cup winners for the U.S., played for the visitors.
— Sky Blue FC (@SkyBlueFC) July 24, 2019
News of a possible sellout at the 5,000-seat stadium was shared by the club’s interim general manager, Alyse LaHue, hours before kickoff on Wednesday. The number was confirmed before halftime of the match, with the score 0-0.
Holy cow! While I was busy buying coolers and beer I failed to notice we are OVER 4K tickets out for tonight’s @SkyBlueFC game 😱 My people we are near a sellout! 🍻🍻🍻🍻 Save me a beer!
— Alyse LaHue (@alahue) July 24, 2019
Sky Blue has been plagued by on and off the field issues for several years, attendance included. In the six matches the team has hosted before Wednesday’s encounter with the Spirit, the team could not manage even 2,000 fans. The team had recorded its highest attendance of the season up to that point in its first match following the World Cup, a 1-0 win against the Utah Royals. The crowd on that day was 1,842, about 400 above its season average.
Coming into the stadium, there was a usually unseen line of cars, plus a line for the crowd to enter. The surrounding parking lots were also full; on previous gamedays, only one lot was open for those traveling by car.
The attendance marks Sky Blue’s best since the 2018 season finale, when 4,086 saw the team beat the Orlando Pride 1-0.