Game Day CoverageGame Preview

For the first time in NWSL history, a match is being played in Washington, D.C. The Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns will face off at Audi Field, the new home of D.C. United. United played their first game in the stadium back in July, and now it is time for the Spirit to get their crack at the brand new stadium.

Kick-Off

8:00 PM ET on Saturday, August 25, 2018

Location

Audi Field in Washington, D.C.

Projected Starting Lineup

Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Estelle Johnson, Rebecca Quinn, Caprice Dydasco; Andi Sullivan, Rose Lavelle, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Mallory Pugh; Ashley Hatch

Noteworthy

This week, Jill Ellis announced her roster for the upcoming matches against Chile. Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh were both among those chosen for the two friendlies. Also being called up for international friendlies were Andi Sullivan, Mallory Eubanks, and Ashley Hatch. That trio will represent the U.S. at the under 23 level in the Nordic Cup. Rebecca Quinn will also represent Canada’s national team in upcoming friendlies against Brazil. Finally, it was announced on Saturday that goalkeeper Didi Haracic was called up to the Bosnian National Team.

Injuries

OUT: Estefania Banini (right MCL sprain), Tori Huster (left ankle inflammation), Cheyna Matthews (pregnancy), Tiffany Weimer (left knee Baker’s cyst – D45), Kelsey Wys (right knee meniscus scope) QUESTIONABLE: Francisca Ordega (left foot contusion)
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

Key to Victory

Be smart defensively. It’s no secret that the Spirit have struggled offensively lately. But instead of beating a dead horse on that topic, it’s best if the Spirit focus on the other problematic area of their game. Against Utah on Wednesday, the Spirit once again had a strong performance from their goalkeeper, this time it being Didi Haracic, and yet still made a mess in front of her. The Spirit need to come together as a group and play strong in front of their goalkeeper to ensure that they have a chance in this game.

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ESPNews

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Game Day CoverageGame Preview

After being off last weekend, the Washington Spirit return to action to take on the Houston Dash. It will be the last meeting between these two teams for the season. In the last meeting between these two sides, Houston took home the 1-0 victory.

Kick-Off

8:30 PM ET on Friday, August 17, 2018

Location

BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas

Projected Starting Lineup

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

Noteworthy

The Spirit held media day at Audi Field on Wednesday. During that time, members of the media were able to see the field and facilities where the game will take place. The players were also able to get an up close look at where they will be playing in just over a week.

Injuries

OUT: Estefania Banini (right MCL sprain), Tori Huster (left heel bruise), Cheyna Matthews (pregnancy), Tiffany Weimer (left knee Baker’s cyst– D45), Kelsey Wys (right knee meniscus scope)
QUESTIONABLE: None
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

Key to Victory

Give Ashley Hatch support. So often this season, the ball would get up to the front where Ashley Hatch would be waiting. She would get the ball and then be forced to take on two or three defenders all on her own because there would be no one up there to support her. This has made it extremely difficult for the Spirit to score or even create dangerous opportunities. If they want to get in good positions to win, they need to score. If they want to score, getting Hatch some help up front is a necessity.

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NWSL.com

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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.

Kick-Off

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

Location

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

Noteworthy

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.

Injuries

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

QUESTIONABLE: None

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

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.

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NWSL.com

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Game Day CoverageGame PreviewMallory Pugh

The NWSL returns to action on Sunday night after being off for the Tournament of Nations. Washington will head out to Seattle to take on the Reign in the final game of the season between these two.

Kick-Off

9:00 PM ET on Sunday, August 5, 2018

Location

UW Medicine Pitch at Memorial Stadium in Seattle, Washington

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

For the first time since her injury at the end of May, Mallory Pugh has been taken off of the injury report. Pugh first was injured against the Houston Dash on Sunday, May 27 when she collided with Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell. After the game on July 21 against Houston, head coach Jim Gabarra said there was a possibility that Pugh could see time against the Reign.

Injuries

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

QUESTIONABLE: Arielle Ship (right knee ACL recovery)

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: None

Key to Victory

Start out strong. The last time the Spirit played in Seattle, Megan Rapinoe put the Reign ahead just seven minutes into the match. Just 28 minutes later, Jodie Taylor doubled the lead with the help of Rapinoe. Joanna Lohman was able to get one back in the second half for the Spirit but it was too little too late. If the Spirit want to break their five plus year winless streak in Seattle, it has to start in the first half with a good, solid performance.

Stream

NWSL.com

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Game Day CoverageGame PreviewRose Lavelle

After a bye week last weekend, the Washington Spirit return home to face the Houston Dash. This will be the last game before the league goes on break for the Tournament of Nations.

Kick-Off

7:00 PM ET on Saturday, July 21, 2018

Location

Maryland SoccerPlex in Boyds, Maryland

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

Midfielder Rose Lavelle has been called up for the United States. Lavelle and the USWNT will play three games over between July 26 and August 2. In the three games, the defending World Cup champions will face Japan, Australia, and Brazil.

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– D45)

QUESTIONABLE: None

INTERNATIONAL DUTY: Rose Lavelle (USA)

Key to Victory

Keep an eye on Daly. Rachel Daly has been on a tear in the 2018 season for the Houston Dash. In the first matchup between these two teams on May 27, Daly had two of three goals for the Dash in a 3-2 victory. Daly has six goals on the year and is eighth in the league for goals scored. If the Spirit want to come away with any points against Houston, keeping Daly’s damage to a minimum is very important.

Stream

Go90

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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.

Stream

Go90

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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.

Stream

Go90

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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

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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.

Stream

Go90

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