For only the second time since May 1 the Washington Spirit have gone five days between matches. Not only that, they’ll also face an opponent they haven’t seen on the pitch since last season in Racing Louisville.
Head coach Kris Ward put a fine point on just how chaotic the Spirit’s schedule has been when he shared that the team and coaches were refreshed by finally experiencing what should be a normal week in the regular season.
Everyone was actually pretty excited just to train yesterday. There was actually a lot of joy of being together without the expectations of having to win or lose on the day, but being able to be together to devote some time to improving, so that was pretty positive.
Yesterday when we actually had a full on training we had 26 people, that’s the first time we’ve had 26 people since the first week of preseason - so like we as staff celebrated. -Kris Ward; source: Washington Spirit
It truly has been an ungodly grind. Of course, the scheduling gods wouldn’t allow a full week by putting this game on Saturday or Sunday, but we dare not complain out loud, lest they are listening. Anyway, onto the game.
Racing Louisville have been a bit unpredictable this season. They’re one of only two teams so far to beat table toppers San Diego Wave and they drew 2-2 away at OL Reign, but have also let in three goals in each of their last two games.
Louisville also recently traded away Cece Kizer, who had started every game for them this regular season. While they still possess danger through USWNT veteran Jessica McDonald and rookie standout Savannah DeMelo, the long-term plan to replace Kizer remains to be seen.
Meanwhile, though the table might not yet tell this story, the Spirit are still one of the better teams in the league. As a chunk of the roster prepares to head off to international duty, they’ll no doubt be looking to leave DC on a high note. Fatigue and injury throughout their grueling schedule often led to slow starts and a lack of the intensity that makes the Spirit difficult to cope with. In this match we should see a version of the Spirit that’s truer to their capabilities.
Location: Segra Field, Leesburg, VA
Kickoff time: 7:30pm ET
Referee: Matt Franz
Available TV: None
Available streaming: Paramount+ (U.S.) & Twitch (int’l)
Washington Spirit team news: OUT - Jordan Baggett (concussion), Dorian Bailey (cheekbone), Averie Collins (knee), Tori Huster (SEI- left lower leg), Devon Kerr (thumb), Alia Martin (quad), Tara McKeown (calf), Gaby Vincent (calf); QUESTIONABLE - None
Thankfully, for the Washington Spirit and the USWNT, Andi Sullivan and Kelley O’Hara are off the availability report altogether. That likely doesn’t mean to expect significant minutes from either, but both are expected to play a part in today’s match.
After this match the Spirit have a break until July 3rd, after which it’s expected that this injury report will, finally, get a lot lighter,
Racing Louisville team news: OUT - None; QUESTIONABLE - None
Previously: An early October match en route to last season’s championship saw the Spirits beat Louisville 3-0 courtesy of two Ashley Hatch goals from Trinity Rodman assists and an Andi Sullivan penalty.
The best of the bunch was this interception and absolutely absurd pass from Rodman.