Of course, many international tournaments all around the world are kicking off so neither team will be at full strength. Regardless, Casey Stoney has concocted a system that is having immediate, borderline dominant results in the NWSL. The Wave excel at creating shooting opportunities in the box.
The Spirit, however, need to press the restart button now that their brutal stretch of games is over. Washington are missing key players in attack, midfield and defense, but they’re still a talented team with intriguing depth.
While the Spirits did well to not entirely crumble under the weight of their nonstop schedule, a lot of points were lost along the way. Washington lead the league in draws (6) and have thrice had points snatched from them minutes before full time. Neither team can name their best XI, but the Spirit can make a statement and start climbing the table by collecting all three points.
Location: Torero Stadium, San Diego, CA
Kickoff time: 5:00pm ET
Referee: Samantha Martinez
Available TV: None
Available streaming: Paramount+ (U.S.) & Twitch (int’l)
Wave team news: OUT - Jodie Taylor (left foot); QUESTIONABLE - None; INTERNATIONAL DUTY - Naomi Girma (USA), Sofia Jakobsson (SWE), Taylor Kornieck (USA), Alex Morgan (USA), Kailen Sheridan (CAN)
San Diego knew they’d be without the players on international duty, even if Taylor Kornieck’s inclusion was a delightful surprise and reward for early season performances. However, Jodie Taylor is an experienced striker who was expected to step in for Alex Morgan, without her Stoney will have to go even deeper into the bench.
Spirit team news: OUT - Tori Huster (SEI-left lower leg); QUESTIONABLE - None; INTERNATIONAL DUTY - Ashley Hatch (USA), Aubrey Kingsbury (USA), Kelley O’Hara (USA), Trinity Rodman (USA), Ashley Sanchez (USA), Emily Sonnett (USA), Andi Sullivan (USA)
Yes, the Spirit are missing seven (7!) players on international duty with the USWNT. However, if you look closely, you’ll note that the only other name on the availability report is Tori Huster who’s continuing to rehab from a torn achilles. This means that seven of the eight (8!) players listed as out in the match before this mini-break are healthy enough to not be listed at all.
Head coach Kris Ward expressed shock and delight among the coaching staff that they finally had enough players to do full team training. However, Ward also expressed some caution as some of the players who were out aren’t yet ready for a start or a full 90 minutes. Still, this is terrific news, including for Jordan Baggett who had been out with a concussion since her scary collision and fall in the Challenge Cup Final.