Francisca OrdegaGame Day CoverageGame Preview

The Washington Spirit will wrap up a three game road trip with a Wednesday night matchup in Cary against the number one North Carolina Courage. In two previous matchups this season, the Spirit have lost twice, 4-2 at home in April, and 1-0 on the road in May.

Kick-Off

7:00 PM ET on Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Location

Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina

Projected Starting Lineup

Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Whitney Church, Estelle Johnson, Caprice Dydasco; Andi Sullivan, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Rebecca Quinn; Estefania Banini, Ashley Hatch, Tori Huster

Noteworthy

The Spirit will be without the services of forward Francisca Ordega on Wednesday night. Ordega suffered a concussion in the opening minutes of Washington’s 2-1 loss against Orlando on Saturday night. Ordega was injured after Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris’ arm and shoulder area made contact with Ordega’s head. Midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard would come in to replace the injured forward.

Injuries

OUT: Cali Farquharson (left tibial stress injury – D45), Cheyna Matthews (pregnancy), Francisca Ordega (concussion), Mallory Pugh (right PCL sprain), Arielle Ship (right ACL recovery – D45), Tiffany Weimer (left knee Baker’s cyst)

QUESTIONABLE: Estefanía Banini (right hamstring inflammation)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

Key to Victory

Don’t give up free kicks. One of the things that North Carolina does better than any team in the league is score off of set pieces. Whether it is a free kick or a corner kick, the height that the Courage possess makes it very difficult to defend against. For the Spirit, free kick defending has been an issue, especially against North Carolina. The easiest way to not give up a goal to the Courage is to not put yourself in that position.

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Ashley HatchAubrey BledsoeFrancisca OrdegaGame Day CoverageJim Gabarra

The Washington Spirit traveled to Orlando to take on the Pride in the final matchup between the two sides. In the previous two matches, the teams had split with one win a piece. The start of Saturday’s game would be delayed for nearly 40 minutes due to thunderstorms in the area.

When the game did get underway, the Spirit were under pressure early from Orlando. Just a few minutes into the match, Spirit forward Francisca Ordega and Orlando keeper Ashlyn Harris collided after going for a ball. Ordega would have to leave the match due to concussion protocol. This seemed to spark the Spirit a bit as they began to turn on the offense. In the 26th minute, forward Ashley Hatch scored her team-leading fourth goal of the year.

Pride forward Sydney Leroux would tie the game up just before the half and Marta scored in the 86th minute to win it for Orlando. The Spirit have now gone seven games without a win, picking up just two points in that stretch.

Ashley Hatch Breaks Scoreless Drought

After being shut out for 476 minutes, the Spirit finally found the back of the net. In the 26th minute, Ashley Hatch headed home Whitney Church’s corner kick. It took a load off the team’s back and nothing showed that more than goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe running more than half the field to join the team in celebration.

“It’s been a bit since we scored so just excited to get that first goal and to be up here in this stadium, against this team, it was just a lot of excitement,” Bledsoe said. “I wanted to be apart of the celebration so I made a break for it.”

Despite Early Sub, Spirit Kept Pressure Up

Often times this season, Washington has had the tendency to sit back and watch. This has resulted in lazy play and poor results. While at times they did revert to that style on Saturday evening, the front line especially put pressure on Orlando’s backline.

“No, it needs to change,” Gabarra said. “I got into them a bit at halftime in Chicago and they came out and played great in the second half. It was like why do we need to go down a goal or why do we need to start poorly. We need to start that way every game. I think it’s just something we talked about over the week and they executed it.”

The pressure came from Ashley Hatch, who was forced to play a different role early with Francisca Ordega being subbed out. After Hatch scored her goal, she was like a bull in a china shop.

“For her individually, she got a lot of confidence by getting the goal and she was rewarded for all of, she does so much work off the ball,” Gabarra said. “I think it was just she looked more dangerous and more confident tonight. That’s hard to get out of an attacking player or a goal scorer when they’re not scoring goals because they naturally feel like they’re not doing their job.”

Aubrey Bledsoe Comes Up With Big Saves in Return to Orlando

During the offseason, the Washington Spirit traded defender Shelina Zadorsky to Orlando in exchange for goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe. Saturday’s match was Bledsoe’s first in Orlando since joining the Spirit. In the loss, she made ten saves.

“It meant something more just coming back here,” Bledsoe said after the match. “I love Orlando, it will always be home to me. There are still a lot of people here that I care about. I had a lot of friends and family in the stands today. Even the Pride supporters, I know they are still rooting for me and want the best for me so that just means a lot. It’s great to be back and see old friends and just be a part of everything here.

Next Up

The Spirit have a quick turnaround as they travel to North Carolina to take on the Courage on Wednesday. Kickoff for the match is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Game Day CoverageGame Preview

After playing host to the Orlando Pride twice this season, the Washington Spirit will travel to Orlando to take on the Pride in the final matchup between these two teams in 2018. The game is the NWSL Game of the Week.

Kick-Off

7:30 PM ET on Saturday, July 7, 2018

Location

Orlando City Stadium in Orlando, Florida

Projected Starting Lineup

Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Whitney Church, Estelle Johnson, Caprice Dydasco; Andi Sullivan, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Rebecca Quinn; Francisca Ordega, Ashley Hatch, Tori Huster

Noteworthy

It has now been 450 minutes since the Spirit last scored a goal. While they have still been able to pick up two points in those five games, their last win was May 23 against a winless Sky Blue. A bright spot for Washington is that the other win for the squad on the season was against Orlando back in March.

Injuries

OUT: Cali Farquharson (left tibial stress injury -D45), Cheyna Matthews (pregnancy), Mallory Pugh (right PCL sprain), Arielle Ship (right ACL recovery– D45), Tiffany Weimer (left knee Baker’s cyst)

QUESTIONABLE: Estefania Banini (right hamstring inflammation), Mallory Eubanks (right ankle sprain), Rose Lavelle (left hamstring inflammation)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

Key to Victory

Take Quality Shots. When in a scoring drought, teams have a tendency to try and take any shot they can. This can often lead to rushed shots that would have been better with one more pass or touch. The same can be said in the other direction however, when a shot can present itself and teams will overpass. For the Spirit, it has been a little bit of both over these past few weeks. The biggest thing for them this week is taking good, quality shots to set themselves up for good things to happen.

Stream

ESPNEWS

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Game Day CoverageGame PreviewMaddie Huster

For the first time this season, the Washington Spirit will travel to Chicago to take on the Red Stars. In two matchups earlier this season at the Maryland SoccerPlex, Chicago has come away with four points in a draw and 2-0 win. The Spirit are looking to bounce back from a 1-0 loss to Orlando last weekend.

Kick-Off

6:00 PM ET on Sunday, July 1, 2018

Location

Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois

Projected Starting Lineup

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

Noteworthy

The Washington Spirit signed midfielder Maddie Huster to a professional contract on Friday. Maddie, the younger sister of Spirit midfielder Tori Huster, was previously with the team as a National Team Replacement player. Maddie Huster played collegiality at Wake Forest.  

Injuries

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

QUESTIONABLE: Estefanía Banini (right hamstring inflammation), Mallory Eubanks (right ankle sprain), Rose Lavelle (left hamstring inflammation), Havana Solaun (left knee chondral avulsion)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

Key to Victory

Score. It’s like a broken record at this point. The Spirit went the entire month of June, more than 360 minutes, without scoring a goal. While the defense has stepped up in the month of June, the offense has gone quiet. It is impossible to win when you don’t score any goals and it is very hard to pick up points when you fail to score. Washington is pretty much out of the playoff chase at this point, but that doesn’t mean they should stop trying to pick up points. A goal or two would not only be nice at this point, it is vital for a lot of jobs going forward.

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Game Day CoverageGame Preview

After playing two straight games to 0-0 draws, the Washington Spirit will welcome the Orlando Pride to town. The game at the Maryland SoccerPlex will be televised as the Game of the Week on ESPNEWS.

Kick-Off

7:00 PM ET on Saturday, June 23, 2018

Location

Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland

Projected Starting Lineup

Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Rebecca Quinn, Estelle Johnson, Caprice Dydasco; Andi Sullivan, Tori Huster, Meggie Dougherty Howard; Francisca Ordega, Ashley Hatch, Estefania Banini

Noteworthy

Earlier this week, the Washington Spirit waived Morgan Proffitt and Yanara Aedo. This will allow them to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Proffitt is expected to go play in Europe. For Aedo, it was important to start playing more minutes with the 2019 World Cup approaching and Chile already qualified.  

Injuries

OUT: Mallory Eubanks (right ankle sprain), Cali Farquharson (left tibial stress injury – D45), Cheyna Matthews (pregnancy), Mallory Pugh (right PCL sprain), Arielle Ship (right ACL recovery – D45), Havana Solaun (left knee chondral avulsion)

QUESTIONABLE: Rose Lavelle (left hamstring inflammation)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

Put the Ball Into the Back of the Net. The Spirit have not scored a goal in over three games. While they have picked up points in the past two matches, you can only pick up so many points without scoring. Orlando has one of the most potent offenses and the Spirit cannot expect to shut them out. They need to win games, especially at home, and goals are a big key to that.

Stream

ESPNEWS

Twitter

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Ashley HatchEstefania BaniniFrancisca OrdegaGame Day CoverageGame Preview

The Washington Spirit return home to the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday night to take on the Seattle Reign. Tonight is the unofficial Pride Night, hosted by the Spirit Squadron.

Kick-Off

7:00 PM ET on Saturday, June 16, 2018

Location

Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland

Projected Starting Lineup

Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Rebecca Quinn, Estelle Johnson, Caprice Dydasco; Andi Sullivan, Joanna Lohman, Meggie Dougherty Howard; Francisca Ordega, Ashley Hatch, Estefania Banini

Noteworthy

Rebecca Quinn, Francisca Ordega, Yanara Aedo, and Rose Lavelle have returned from international duty and will be available for selection on Saturday evening. With those players returning, Maddie Huster and Schuyler DeBree have been released.

Injuries

OUT: Whitney Church (excused absence), Mallory Eubanks (right ankle sprain), Cali Farquharson (left tibial stress injury – D45), Cheyna Matthews (pregnancy), Mallory Pugh (right PCL sprain), Arielle Ship (right ACL recovery – D45), Havana Solaun (left knee chondral avulsion)

QUESTIONABLE: Kelsey Wys (right knee swelling)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

Key to Victory

Get the Offense Involved Early. With Francisca Ordega returning, the Spirit need to get here integrated back in early. Putting pressure on Seattle’s backline before the Reign score can really change the tempo of the match. Since Mallory Pugh is out, the frontline of Ordega, Estefania Banini, and Ashley hatch will need to come together quickly to avoid being shutout once again.

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Andi SullivanAubrey BledsoeEstefania BaniniEstelle JohnsonGame Day Coverage

In the only NWSL game during the FIFA window, the Washington Spirit took on Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field. With both teams desperately needing a win, a scoreless draw was the end result.

Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit
Starting XI: Bledsoe; Smith, Church, Johnson, Dydasco; Proffitt, Dougherty-Howard, Sullivan; Banini, Huster, Weimer

Defense Comes Up Big

For the second time this season, the Washington Spirit have held Sky Blue scoreless. Sky Blue had the better of the play during the match but were unable to score a goal. Center back Estelle Johnson and goalkeeper Audrey Bledsoe both came up big late in the second half to keep things scoreless. A timely slide tackle in stoppage time by Johnson ultimately kept a point in the bag for Washington.

Andi Sullivan Misses Chance at First Career Goal

In the 79th minute, Washington’s Estefania Banini drew a penalty with a chance to take the lead. Andi Sullivan stepped up to take the kick, but her shot was blocked by Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. The penalty was poorly struck and Sheridan was able to get her palm on it easily.

After recording her first professional assist against Sky Blue in the first matchup, Sullivan has still yet to record a goal. The rookie midfielder has not had the first season that many had anticipated and has struggled on both sides of the ball. Despite that, she has helped hold down the midfield, even with all the changes in the lineup around her.

Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit
Andi Sullivan takes a penalty kick in the 79th minute against Sky Blue.

Mallory Pugh Out 8-10 Weeks

The Washington Spirit announced on Friday afternoon that Mallory Pugh will be out 8-10 weeks due to a knee injury. Pugh sprained her posterior cruciate ligament in the Spirit’s match against the Houston Dash on May 27. While the injury typically heals without surgery, it is unclear from the release if it will be required in this instance. Pugh will begin training again in the latter part of her recovery, according to the Spirit.

Next Up

The Spirit will return home to take on the Seattle Reign on Saturday, June 16. This will be the first matchup between these two teams since the season opener in Seattle, a 2-1 victory for Seattle. With it being after the FIFA break, the international players will be available for selection.

Game Day CoverageGame PreviewMaddie HusterTori Huster

In the only match during the FIFA International Break, the Washington Spirit will travel to New Jersey to take on Sky Blue FC. Both teams are on losing streaks and are missing key pieces to their lineups.

Kick-Off

7:00 PM ET on Friday, June 8, 2018

Location

Yurcak Field in Piscataway, New Jersey

Projected Starting Lineup

Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Whitney Church, Estelle Johnson, Caprice Dydasco; Andi Sullivan, Joanna Lohman, Meggie Dougherty Howard; Tiffany Weimer, Ashley Hatch, Estefania Banini

Noteworthy

Maddie and Tori Huster will become the first pair of sisters to take the field for the same team in NWSL history. Maddie was signed earlier this week as a national team replacement player. She was drafted in the third round of the 2018 NWSL Draft and has spent time with the Spirit Reserves in recent years.

Injuries

OUT: Mallory Eubanks (right ankle sprain), Cali Farquharson (left tibial stress injury -D45), Cheyna Matthews (pregnancy), Mallory Pugh (right knee swelling), Arielle Ship (right ACL recovery –D45), Havana Solaun (left knee chondral avulsion)

QUESTIONABLE: Ashley Hatch (left hip flexor soreness), Tori Huster (right groin soreness), Kelsey Wys (right knee swelling)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Yanara Aedo (CHI), Rose Lavelle (USA), Francisca Ordega (NGA), Rebecca Quinn (CAN)

Key to Victory

Score. The Spirit have really struggled to score as of late and they are facing another snake bitten team. The last time out against Sky Blue, one goal was all the Spirit needed to get the victory. If they can get a goal despite a depleted front line, a win should be in order.

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Ashley HatchGame Day CoverageKelsey Wys

Five hours later than anticipated, the Washington Spirit hosted the Chicago Red Stars at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Chicago would walk away from the crazy Saturday afternoon turned late evening game with three points in a 2-0 victory.

Just as the National Anthem had finished playing and the players were getting ready for the pictures of the starting lineups, the horn sounded at the SoccerPlex, indicating lightning was detected in the area. As heavy storms rolled through, it was eventually determined that the game, originally scheduled for kick off at 3:50 p.m., would not be starting until 9:00 p.m.

Once the game got underway at its new time, the weather played a heavy hand in the match. The first goal scored by Chicago in the 25th minute was exactly the kind you would expect to see in a rainy, wet game like this one. The Red Stars’ Yuki Nagasato played a free kick in on goal and goalkeeper Kelsey Wys was unable to cleanly coral the ball before Sam Kerr found the back of the net.

“Obviously it’s pouring down rain, it’s hard to for any goalkeeper to hold a clean ball, especially one that’s being bent over a wall that I can’t see anything,” Wys said. “I should have just parried it away but my first priority was to keep it out of the back of the net. Then she followed it up and no one on our team was around.”

The Red Stars would double their lead in the 49th minute off of a well structured passing play in the box. Alyssa Mautz drove into the box before turning around and laying it off for a wide open Nagasato. Nagasato would then tuck it between Wys and the near post for the 2-0 lead.

Washington would be shut out for the fourth time this season. Ashley Hatch had the best chance of the game in stoppage time of the second half. Hatch made a nice run up the field but rookie goalkeeper Emily Boyd stood tall in her debut to earn the shutout.

“It’s hard to keep your concentration for a long time not having to do much,” Chicago head coach Rory Dames said. “I think that’s the sign of a good goalkeeper when you don’t have to do a lot and then you get called in late and she was able to come up big for us.”

The Spirit will be in action again on Friday night as they take on Sky Blue FC in New Jersey. Washington will be without the services of Rebecca Quinn and Franny Ordega who are representing their respective national teams in Canada and Nigeria. Kickoff for the Sky Blue match is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Francisca OrdegaGame Day CoverageGame PreviewMallory PughRebecca QuinnSchuyler DeBree

The Washington Spirit will return home on Saturday to take on the Chicago Red Stars in the Lifetime Game of the Week. In the first matchup between these two teams in late April, Francisca Ordega and Alyssa Mautz scored in a 1-1 draw.

Kick-Off

3:50 PM ET on Saturday, June 2, 2018

Location

Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland

Projected Starting Lineup

Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Whitney Church, Estelle Johnson, Caprice Dydasco; Andi Sullivan, Rebecca Quinn, Meggie Dougherty Howard; Mallory Eubanks, Ashley Hatch, Estefania Banini

Noteworthy

Rebecca Quinn and Francisca Ordega have been called up for their national teams in Canada and Nigeria respectively. Quinn will leave for camp with Canada at some point this week. Ordega has left the Spirit to travel to Nigeria for the FIFA Break. Schuyler DeBree has been signed as a National Team Replacement Player.

Injuries

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

QUESTIONABLE: Tori Huster (right groin soreness)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Francisca Ordega (NGA)

Key to Victory

Put Pressure On Early. The Chicago Red Stars gave up five goals against Orlando last weekend. The Red Stars will be missing goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and defender/midfielder Julie Ertz missing this week. This means the Spirit need to put the pressure on rookie goalkeeper Emily Boyd and the backline early, especially with Mallory Pugh and Francisca Ordega out for this weekend. If they can get a goal early and keep Sam Kerr quiet, a point or more just might be in their future.

Stream

Lifetime

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