Not only has the Washington Spirit’s schedule been exhausting, they also haven’t had a break from the monotony in the form of unfamiliar opposition. By the time the international break rolls around, the Spirit will have already played their home and away series with OL Reign, and after playing them twice in seven days, the Chicago Red Stars as well.
Another rarity in this onslaught of games is that the Spirit have rarely faced a team on an equal amount of a rest, though they had to travel to Chicago, both teams last played Saturday, June 4. Mallory Pugh scored the winner for Chicago over OL Reign in a tight 1-0 contest, while a twentieth minute goal from Midge Purce was the only goal in the Spirit’s scrappy match with Gotham FC.
If you happen to be more than one week old, you’ll remember that the Red Stars’ press gave the Spirit fits. The match was played on the dry, poor-on-a-good-day surface of Segra Field, which stifled some of the Spirit’s passing. Thankfully, SeatGeek stadium is grass.
Chicago was an unknown coming into the season but seem to have taken to new coach Chris Petrucelli’s system very well. Their 3-4-2-1 allows them to box the opposition in midfield while they press to win possession and find a runner, which is often supernova God mode Mallory Pugh. It’s working very well, and Pugh is already on everyone’s much-too-early shortlist for MVP.
The Spirit haven’t had a taste of the win column since May 1st, and are desperate to get back to collecting three points. Doing it against an in-form Chicago team would be a boost heading into a weekend rematch of the Challenge Cup Final, against the North Carolina Courage.
Location: SeatGeek Stadium, Bridgeview, IL
Kickoff time: 8:00pm ET
Referee: Calin Radosav
Available TV: None
Available streaming: Twitch
Red Stars team news: OUT - Tierna Davidson (SEI- right knee), Morgan Gautrat (left calf), Casey Krueger (maternity leave), Bianca St-Georges (illness), Kealia Watt (left knee), Sarah Woldmoe (maternity leave), Arin Wright (right hip); QUESTIONABLE - None
Spirit team news: OUT - Jordan Baggett (concussion), Dorian Bailey (cheekbone), Averie Collins (knee), Tori Huster (SEI – left lower leg), Alia Martin (quad), Tara McKeown (foot), Kelley O’Hara (hamstring), Andi Sullivan (quad), Gaby Vincent (quad); QUESTIONABLE - None
Well, this is unfortunate. Kris Ward substituted Andi Sullivan and Ashley Sanchez at halftime versus Gotham FC, citing postmatch that he was trying to avoid them being injured after each absorbed clashes from Gotham players. Sanchez seems to have escaped unscathed, Sullivan apparently has not. Just a week ago the Spirit weren’t able to permanently solve Chicago’s press until Sullivan came on at halftime, whatever sans-Sullivan midfield is named tonight already has their work cut out.
On a more positive note, the three players in covid protocol (Camryn Biegalski, Audrey Harding and Trinity Rodman) are back with the team and available. Given that the NWSL makes players fly commercial, all we can do is hope that no one is ruled out before the match.
Previously: A frustrating 1-1 draw as Chicago scored in the first ten minutes and the Spirit banged on the door until the equalizer finally came minutes before full-time.