Caprice DydascoDiDi HaracicEstelle JohnsonNWSL Draft

The Washington Spirit had a busy Thursday at the 2019 NWSL Draft. Here is a breakdown of the five players that the Spirit took.

The 2019 NWSL Draft has come and gone. It was a crazy day for the Washington Spirit, who made five picks and two trades on the day. All in all, the Spirit were able to add five new names to their roster. They added Jordan DiBiasi, Samantha Staab, Tegan McGrady, Dorian Bailey, and Bayley Feist.

Jordan DiBiasi – 3rd overall pick

Jordan DiBiasi is a midfielder out of Stanford University. A Highlands Ranch, Colorado native, DiBiasi was named a MAC Hermann Trophy finalist and Pac-12 Midfielder of the Year in 2018. She won the 2017 National Championship as a member of the Stanford Cardinal where she was a teammate of current Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan and fellow draft pick Tegan McGrady.

In her four years at Stanford, DiBiasi played 92 games, starting all but one of those games. She scored 31 goals and had 23 assists with 15 of those goals being game winners. DiBiasi could be an important part of the midfield when it comes to facilitating goals.

Sam Staab – 4th overall pick

Sam Staab is a defender out of Clemson University. While she has been known to play both left back and center back, Staab said that she is most comfortable playing center back, a position the Spirit desperately need help at. The San Diego, California native played in 18 of the 21 games for Clemson her senior year. As a junior, she logged the most minutes of her team at 1,802 minutes. She had 11 assists from the backline in her senior season as her left foot became a vital weapon for the Tigers. Head coach Richie Burke said after the draft that he plans to play Staab at left center back for the team this upcoming season.

Tegan McGrady – 7th overall pick

Tegan McGrady is a defender out of Stanford University. Alongside fellow draft pick Jordan DiBiasi and current Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan, McGrady won the 2017 National Championship with Stanford. McGrady has one cap with the full U.S. national team. She made her debut for the U.S. against Mexico in April of 2018. She also made the All-Pac-12 first team in 2018.

McGrady played in 72 games as a member of the Stanford Cardinal for four years. She started in 61 of those games, scoring four goals and recording 13 assists. While she didn’t score often, she did manage to make it count as three of her four career goals were game winners. With the trades that occured on draft day, she will become a valuable asset on the backline for the Spirit.

Dorian Bailey – 8th overall pick

The fourth and final pick of the first round for the Spirit was Dorian Bailey from the University of North Carolina. Bailey is a midfielder who played in 86 games at UNC. After starting less than a third of her games her first three years, Bailey started all 27 games she played in in 2018. She had her best season statistically as a junior as she racked up 21 points. She finished with 17 goals and 17 assists in four years at North Carolina. She was also named to the third-team All-ACC team. When the Spirit have players leave for the World Cup, Bailey will play an important role. Even when the Spirit are at full strength, Bailey offers a nice bit of depth in the midfield.

Bayley Feist – 17th overall pick

The Spirit traded up to get Bayley Feist with the 17th overall pick. Feist played collegiately at Wake Forest. She was named to the All-ACC second team in 2018 as well as the United Soccer Coaches All-South Region second team. In her four years in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Feist played in 78 games, starting 61 of those games. She had 54 points in her career, netting 22 goals. Her 22 goals is the most for a graduating Wake Forest player since 2013. Of those 22 goals, five were game winners. Feist joins Tori Huster, Aubrey Bledsoe, and Rose Lavelle as the Cincinnati girls on the Spirit roster.


The Spirit made two trades on Thursday. The first was to send three players and the 29th pick of the 2019 draft to Sky Blue in exchange for the 3rd overall pick on Thursday. With the third pick, the Spirit were able to draft Jordan DiBiasi out of Stanford. In exchange, the Spirit sent their captain Estelle Johnson, left back Caprice Dydasco, and goalkeeper DiDi Haracic to Sky Blue.

The second trade was between the Spirit and the Portland Thorns. Washington sent the 31st overall pick in the 2019 draft and the Spirit’s natural 2nd round pick in the 2020 draft to Portland in exchange for the 17th overall pick in the 2019 draft. That allowed the Spirit to draft Bayley Feist.

Caprice DydascoGame Day CoverageGame PreviewTaylor Smith

The Washington Spirit will head out to Utah to take on the Royals in a midweek game. After falling to Seattle 2-0 on Sunday, the Spirit will look to pick up their first win since May 23.


10:00 PM ET on Wednesday, August 8, 2018


Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah

Projected Starting Lineup

Aubrey Bledsoe; Rebecca Quinn, Estelle Johnson, Tori Huster; Taylor Smith, Andi Sullivan, Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle, Caprice Dydasco; Ashley Hatch, Francisca Ordega


On Sunday evening, the Spirit took on the Seattle Reign. While they lost 2-0, Mallory Pugh made her return to the pitch. Pugh, Lavelle, and Sullivan were the three substitutes for the Spirit and played together for one of the few times all season.


OUT: Estefanía Banini (right MCL sprain), Cheyna Matthews (pregnancy), Tiffany Weimer (left knee Baker’s cyst – D45), Kelsey Wys (right knee meniscus scope)



Key to Victory

Get Dydasco and Smith going. With the Spirit now experimenting with a 3-5-2 formation,  Smith and Dydasco are now getting more involved in the offense. If they can combine with Pugh and Lavelle, that could be a very dangerous combination.



Follow @spiritcoverage and @jols98 for game updates and to keep your timeline to date with our Washington Spirit coverage on Twitter.

Aubrey BledsoeCaprice DydascoGame Day CoverageRebecca QuinnTaylor SmithTori Huster

On Saturday night, the Washington Spirit and Houston Dash were set to face off at the Maryland SoccerPlex, but Mother Nature had other plans.

According to the National Weather Service, more than six inches of rain fell in the area on Saturday. That caused flooding on the field and the referees deemed it unplayable. The game was rescheduled and played on Sunday morning with a 10 a.m. local kickoff.

“You tailor your whole day towards the game,” Spirit defender Rebecca Quinn said. “I know a couple of the players were having caffeine at a little later hours of the night so it was a bit tough getting to bed yesterday. I think it’s fun having it at our normal training so we’re normally ready to go at 10 a.m. in the morning so that wasn’t too bad.”

Right from the get go, the pace was flying. Francisca Ordega nearly scored in the first minute but Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell was able to keep it out. In the third minute, Dash forward Rachel Daly got on the end of a Sofia Huerta ball and put it past an on rushing Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe.

Rachel Daly scores the lone goal of the game, beating Aubrey Bledsoe and Tori Huster. Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit

Spirit find success in 3-5-2 formation

Washington continued to press for much of the game but never found the back of the net. In total, the Spirit managed nine shots on goal and 11 corner kicks, both season highs. Much of that success had to do with the formation that head coach Jim Gabarra had them playing. A 3-5-2 with Quinn, Estelle Johnson, and Tori Huster in the back and Taylor Smith and Caprice Dydasco as wingbacks on the outside provided Washington with the attacking presence that has been missing for most of the season.

“I think that’s always a positive with our wingbacks, as you would call it, getting forward,” Quinn said. “Especially with Taylor getting a lot of options end line. She gave us some really good chances in both halves. I think that’s the main positive coming out of that formation. Then as well, me and Tori were able to get into some good spaces to distribute into our forwards as well.”

Taylor Smith plays a ball into the attack during the second half. Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit

Field conditions greatly improved on Sunday

Despite the dumping of water that occurred on Saturday, the field managed to drain fairly well overnight. With rain showers stopping around midnight, the field was able to dry out to become playable on Sunday. There did not appear to be any standing water inside the lines, unlike Saturday night. Saturday evening, there were huge puddles stretching from one 18 yard box to the other.

“Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised coming out here this morning with how it drained out,” Quinn said. “I was a little bit skeptical when they were saying it only took an hour but I guess they were right, the grounds crew. It wasn’t bad at all, there weren’t any puddles. I was pretty happy with it.”

Starting XI: Aubrey Bledsoe; Tori Huster, Estelle Johnson, Rebecca Quinn; Caprice Dydasco, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Estefania Banini, Andi Sullivan, Taylor Smith; Ashley Hatch, Francisca Ordega Jordan Small | Follow Your Spirit

Next Up

The NWSL will take next weekend off as the United States plays host to Japan, Australia, and Brazil in the Tournament of Nations. When action gets back underway on August 5, the Spirit will head out to the west coast to take on the Seattle Reign. That will be the first of three games the Spirit will play on the road.

Aubrey BledsoeCaprice DydascoEstelle JohnsonGame Day CoverageGame PreviewJim GabarraRebecca QuinnTaylor SmithWhitney Church

After a midweek win against Sky Blue at home, the Washington Spirit will head to Houston to take on the Dash. The Spirit will have a chance to move within four points of a playoff spot.


8:00 PM ET on Sunday, May 27, 2018


BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas

Projected Starting Lineup

Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Whitney Church, Estelle Johnson, Caprice Dydasco; Andi Sullivan, Rebecca Quinn, Estefania Banini; Mallory Pugh, Ashley Hatch, Francisca Ordega


With this being the third game in eight days for Washington, it is possible that the Spirit will have a very different looking lineup against the Dash. Head coach Jim Gabarra had mentioned after the Sky Blue game that the defense could see some different looks to get some players rest, specifically the outside backs of Caprice Dydasco and Taylor Smith. However, with the Spirit in dire need of points, Washington could go with a similar lineup as what was seen on Wednesday night.


OUT: Cali Farquharson (left tibial stress injury – D45), Cheyna Matthews (pregnancy), Arielle Ship (right ACL recovery – D45)



Key to Victory

Stay Compact. The Spirit have done a good job of staying compact along the back line in the past three games. In those three games, they have only allowed two goals, with one coming off of a free kick. Taylor Smith and Caprice Dydasco have settled into their roles at outside back and have found the balance between attacking and defending. The center backs of Whitney Church, Rebecca Quinn, and Estelle Johnson have done well despite rotation due to injuries. If goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe can keep the backline in check in front of her, the Spirit could go on a run here at a time where they desperately need points.



Follow @spiritcoverage and @jols98 for game updates and to keep your timeline to date with our Washington Spirit coverage on Twitter.

Ashley HatchAubrey BledsoeCaprice DydascoEstelle JohnsonGame Day CoverageJim GabarraMallory PughRebecca QuinnRose LavelleTaylor SmithWhitney Church

Last season, the Washington Spirit went 3-0 against Sky Blue FC. So with the Spirit desperately needing a win to help their season, a winless Sky Blue came to town. The Spirit turned in one of the better overall performances from the squad this season and picked up a 1-0 win on Wednesday night.

Starting XI: Bledsoe; Smith, Johnson, Church, Dydasco; Quinn, Sullivan, Banini; Pugh, Hatch, Ordega. Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit

Both teams were unable to break the deadlock in the first half with each team having shots go off the woodwork. Coming out of the locker room, Spirit forward Ashley Hatch was firing on all cylinders. She would finally put one home in the 64th minute, proving to be the difference for Washington.

Defense Comes Up Big

In the past three games, the Spirit defense has allowed just two goals with one coming off of a free kick. Rebecca Quinn and Whitney Church’s partnership was proving to be a positive one and when Estelle Johnson came back into the lineup on Wednesday night for Quinn, the transition was seamless. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe picked up her second shutout as a member of the Spirit in the 1-0 victory.

I think Aubrey has certainly stepped up in these past couple games and she hasn’t been making that one or two big mistakes that create a good chance or goal for the other team,” head coach Jim Gabarra said.

Aubrey Bledsoe was awarded the Spirit Squadron’s player of the match trophy following her shutout. Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit

One of the biggest keys to the new found confidence of the backline was the decision to switch up which side the center backs were playing on. When Johnson was out because of injury, Quinn stepped in to play at center back. At that time, the Spirit played her at right center back alongside of Taylor Smith, while Church would be on the left with Caprice Dydasco. With Johnson returning, she slid into the right center back role to keep Church on the left.

“We wanted to put [Quinn] on the side with Taylor,” Gabarra said. “Then when we bring Estelle back in, you’re basically making two changes rather than one so we put Estelle [on the right side]. Estelle is more comfortable on the right anyways so it might stay that way. I think the important thing is the relationship between Whit and Estelle is very good and [Quinn] and Estelle have a good relationship with Taylor and Estelle and Whit have  a good relationship with [Dydasco]. Then that translates up to Tori and [Quinn] or Andi in the six role.”

Andi Sullivan Picks Up First Career Point

Mallory Pugh drew a foul in the attacking third for Washington roughly 63 minutes into the game. With it being too far out for a shot on goal, midfielder Andi Sullivan stepped up to take the kick. Sullivan played a well weighted ball towards the back post and found the head of Ashley Hatch. Hatch’s header would be good enough for the only goal of the game. With the assist, Sullivan picked up her first career professional point.

“Whit has been putting in some great services and I don’t know, for some reason I just felt inclined to take it and she let me which was great,” Sullivan said. “Then it was a little far out and we wanted to test their keeper but it was a little far and Mal looked at me and said serve it and I said ok. I think I like that service, like the back post bent service and Hatch is great in the air so I just looked to kind of hit it to that back six. It was one of those that as soon as it hit her head, I knew it was going in. So it was awesome, she is so good at that finish so I just wanted to serve it up to her.”

The goal was the first scored by the Spirit since April 28, a 1-1 draw vs. the Chicago. Hatch now has two goals on the year for Washington.

Mal did a good job of drawing the foul and Andi set up and I just wanted to start wide and run in on it,” Hatch said. “Andi put a perfect flighted ball and it was easy just to run in on it and tap it in.”

Rose Lavelle Makes Her Spirit Debut

Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle made her Spirit debut on Wednesday night, coming in for Estefania Banini in the 74th minute. Lavelle picked up her first NWSL minutes after having not played due to a hamstring injury since August of 2017. Her fresh legs helped the Spirit, who are playing three games in eight days.

“It felt really good,” Lavelle said. “I was really nervous going in because obviously I haven’t played in a about a lifetime. So I was really nervous but it’s the same game as before I got hurt. I just had to calm down and let my nerves settle and just enjoy the moment.”

Rose Lavelle warms up prior to her first game action with the Washington Spirit. Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit

Next Up

Washington now heads to Houston on Sunday to take on the Dash. The game is scheduled to kickoff at 8 p.m. Houston sits just two points ahead of the Spirit and sit in 7th place.

Andi SullivanAshley HatchAubrey BledsoeCaprice DydascoFrancisca OrdegaGame Day CoverageMallory PughMeggie Dougherty HowardRebecca Quinn

On the second road trip of the season, the Washington Spirit picked up their first road point with a 1-1 draw at the Portland Thorns.

The scoring happened all in the first half, but most of the opportunities came in the second. Francisca Ordega opened the scoring on a scrapy play in front in the 37th minute. In added time of the first half, Caprice Dydasco fouled Ifeoma Onumonu in the box. Thorns forward Christine Sinclair would convert the penalty to tie it up at one. The Thorns had a chance to win it in the 87th minute, but Lindsey Horan would have her penalty kick saved by Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe to keep it tied.

Aubrey Bledsoe Comes Up Big

Late in the game, with the Thorns on the attack, Aubrey Bledsoe was forced to come up with a big save after a potentially costly mistake. A ball was played into the box from deep and it was a race between Bledsoe and Thorns defender Emily Sonnett for the ball. Sonnett got there before Bledsoe, and the goalkeeper would then foul Sonnett.

After the nasty tackle, Bledsoe had to step up and try to save a penalty to keep her team tied. Lindsey Horan would step up, backup, restart her run, and eventually have her kick saved by Bledsoe. It was her second career penalty kick save.

Ordega Wreaks Havoc

Francisca Ordega opened the scoring in the 37th minute, her second on the season. Tori Huster’s corner was poorly cleared and it bounced to the center of the six yard box. Thorns goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom was unable to grab it and a scramble in the box lead to Ordega poking it through.

Ordega had multiple other chances and was difficult to slow down when she was running at the backline. WIth the Thorns playing only three in the back, the front line of Ordega, Mallory Pugh, and Ashley Hatch were able to get it going for much of the first half. The second half was not as strong, but the trio is really starting to come together.

Tori Huster Returns to the Starting XI

Spirit midfielder Tori Huster returned to the starting XI on Friday night. Huster, alongside of Andi Sullivan and Meggie Dougherty Howard, held down their area well against four midfielders for the Thorns. This greatly helped the defense of the Spirit, who, alongside of Aubrey Bledsoe, had a fairly quiet evening. If Rebecca Quinn remains injured, the Spirit will most likely stick with this trio.

Next Up

Washington will return home next weekend to take on the Chicago Red Stars. The match is scheduled to kickoff at 7 p.m. on April 28.