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.

Stream

NWSL.com

Twitter

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

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

Twitter

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.

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

Twitter

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

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

Twitter

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

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

Twitter

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

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

Twitter

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

Uncategorized

For the second straight game, the Washington Spirit have played their opponents to 0-0 draws. After coming away with one point against Sky Blue last Friday, the Spirit returned home to face the Seattle Reign.

Starting XI: Bledsoe; Smith, Quinn, Johnson, Dydasco; Sullivan, Huster, Proffitt; Banini, Hatch, Lavelle Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit

Human Highlight Reel Aubrey Bledsoe

Aubrey Bledsoe racked up six saves in the match for the Spirit in the 0-0 draw. The shutout is her second in two games and fourth on the season. Her biggest save of the night game on a header from Megan Rapinoe late in the game. She also kept the Spirit even when she saved Rapinoe’s penalty kick in the 52nd minute.

“Luckily I was able to come up with some big time saves to keep us in it today,” Bledsoe said. “It was just me kind of feeding off the energy of the team, everyone was out there sacrificing their bodies with big time tackles. Quinn had one towards the end and her knee almost fell off. Just kind of being calm and reading the game. Not letting emotions come but just taking it play by play.”

Spirit Improve Free Kick Defending

The first time these two teams played this season, Washington gave up a free kick goal to Megan Rapinoe. After the first few games of the season, head coach Jim Gabarra mentioned how he was not pleased with his team’s defense on those free kicks.

On Saturday night, the Spirit gave up a number of free kicks once again, but the defense stepped up big time against Rapinoe’s chances. Multiple times Rapinoe played the ball into the wall or hit it way over the bar.

“I think it’s unfortunate the fouls we gave away on top of the box,” midfielder Tori Huster said. “We know that [Rapinoe] can hit those all day, everyday. We need to tidy that up a little bit, maybe be a bit smarter at the top of the box. Our walls were set well and I think we were ready for anything that bobbled. Aubrey did well to communicate what she wanted in front of goal.”

Rose Lavelle Picks Up First Start

Rose Lavelle takes on the Seattle defense in her first start for the Spirit. Kelley Piper | Follow Your Spirit

For the first time since joining the Spirit, Rose Lavelle was featured in the starting eleven. After playing 25 minutes for the U.S. on Tuesday night, the Cincinnati native returned to the Spirit lineup with a bang. Lavelle played the first 45 minutes for Washington before being subbed out at the half.

After the game, Lavelle appeared to be walking with a limp and had trouble getting up the hill to exit the field towards the locker rooms. Head coach Jim Gabarra did mention after the game that she had ice on her left hamstring.

Next Up

Washington will play host to the Orlando Pride on Saturday night. The game will be televised on ESPN News at 7 p.m. In the previous matchup between these two teams, the Spirit defeated Orlando 2-0.

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

Twitter

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