With the 2018 season beginning on Saturday, Follow Your Spirit brings you a break down of each position group on the Washington Spirit. Finally, the forwards.
#17 – Cali Farquharson
- Age: 24
- Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona
#33 – Ashley Hatch
- Age: 22
- Hometown: Gilbert, Arizona
#14 – Francisca Ordega
- Age: 24
- Hometown: Gboko, Nigeria
#11 – Mallory Pugh
- Age: 19
- Hometown: Highlands Ranch, Colorado
#2 – Arielle Ship
- Age: 22
- Hometown: Westlake Village, California
#88 – Tiffany Weimer
- Age: 33
- Hometown: Bridgeport, Connecticut
This will be a very interesting year for the Washington Spirit forward corps. After a down year offensively, the Spirit will need more production out of the forwards for the playoffs to be an option. Much like the midfielders, the personnel on the field will greatly depend on what formation is being played.
It is believed that Washington will begin the season playing in a 4-3-3. With that being said, it is most likely going to be Ashley Hatch, midfielder/forward Estefania Banini, and Mallory Pugh on the front line. Hatch gives the Spirit some height up front while Banini and Pugh bring the distribution and goal scoring abilities to the table. Much like in the preseason finale, Francisca Ordega will most likely be the go-to forward coming off the bench for head coach Jim Gabarra.
This lineup will also depend on national team camps. US head coach Jill Ellis has called up Hatch and Pugh for two April friendlies against Mexico. Arielle Ship will start the season on the 45-day disabled list and Cheyna Williams will take the year off because of maternity leave.
Player to Watch
In mid-January, the Spirit acquired Hatch from North Carolina. During the offseason, Hatch spent time with Melbourne City FC of the Australian W-League. Her team ended up winning the W-League title before she returned to the U.S. for preseason with Washington.
“My time in Australia was great,” Hatch said. “It was good to get more games in, more minutes and more touches on the ball just to stay fit and get more game experience. It was good to just progressing and hopefully, that will roll over into the season.”
In 2017, Hatch won the NWSL Rookie of the Year crown. She won the award after tying a league record for most goals by a rookie (7),
“Last year was a great season, I learned a lot but I still feel like there’s a lot more to learn and to improve as a player,” Hatch said. “It’s only my second year as a professional so I’m excited to come here, play with the Spirit, and hopefully help them improve from last season.
Washington will open up against the Seattle Reign on Saturday, March 24. Go90.com will have a stream of the game with kickoff coming at 10 p.m. ET.