By now we all know that it is illegal for the Washington Spirit to have fewer than two games in a week so today they face NJ/NY Gotham FC at Red Bull Arena. While the stretch of matches has been brutal, the Spirit are in the midst of a small stretch in which their performances have improved.
Though the earned result against Orlando was thrown away in the final two minutes, the Spirit controlled large stretches of the match. Then, they followed that up by solving Chicago’s midfield numbers and counterpressing midweek, unfortunately that result was also a draw — the Spirit’s fourth straight.
While the Spirit are still in the early season window in which good performances can be more important than the result, this is a deep league and points are hard to come by, so getting back to the W column grows in importance with each draw.
Though Gotham FC’s last match was a 1-0 win away at Angel City last weekend, the hosts peppered them with 23 shots. Luckily, and relievedly, for Gotham, they turned in a vintage 2021 performance and the ball magically stayed out of goal. However, so far this season it’s very much the anomaly.
Unfortunately, both the Spirit and Gotham will have key players missing this matchup. Gotham center back Estelle Johnson and goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris will be out, and the Spirit have eight players missing through injury and three through covid protocols (Camryn Biegalski, Audrey Harding and Trinity Rodman).
This brutal run of games has forced head coach Kris Ward to juggle lineups and rely on players before ideal preparedness. While Gotham have provided little resistance to their goal this season, the Spirit will be forced to use an unfamiliar lineup to attempt to collect more than one point for the first time since May 1.
Location: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ
Kickoff time: 7:00pm ET
Referee: JC Griggs
Available TV: None
Available streaming: Twitch
Gotham team news: OUT - Sabrina Flores (left knee), Estelle Johnson (right ankle), Ashlyn Harris (lower back), Kelly Ann Livingstone (left ankle), Allie Long (maternity leave), Domi Richardson (right knee); QUESTIONABLE - None
Washington Spirit team news: OUT - Baggett (concussion), Bailey (cheekbone), Biegalski (Covid protocol), Collins (knee), Alia Martin (quad), Harding (Covid protocol), Huster (achilles), McKeown (foot), O’Hara (hamstring), Rodman (Covid protocol), Vincent (calf); QUESTIONABLE - None
So, this is a long list. While Alia Martin is a new addition, the rest of the injured have been the same for a handful of matches. The difference is more players added to the list under the league’s covid protocols. Camryn Biegalski was the lone covid protocol absence ahead of the midweek match with Chicago, but now Audrey Harding and Trinity Rodman have joined her.
Previously: A 3-1 rompin by the Spirit in this year’s Challenge Cup which featured a banger of a free kick from Ashley Sanchez and a Trinity Rodman brace.