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Washington Spirit announces 2017 NWSL home opener

The Spirit’s home opener is set for April 15 against North Carolina Courage

Joanna Lohman and her Washington Spirit teammates celebrate Lohman's bicycle kick goal on April 16, 2016
Joanna Lohman and her Washington Spirit teammates celebrate Lohman's bicycle kick goal on April 16, 2016
Brad Smith (ISI Photos)

The Washington Spirit will open their 2017 NWSL season on April 15 against the North Carolina Courage at the Maryland Soccerplex. The following week, the Spirit will travel to Florida to face the Orlando Pride. The full schedule is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

North Carolina Courage, formerly known as the Western New York Flash, beat the Spirit in the NWSL Championship last fall after equalizing in the final minute of extra time. In the offseason, the Flash were sold to Stephen Malik who moved the team to North Carolina. In the 2016 regular season, the Spirit beat the Flash on the road before tying them at home.

In 2016, the Spirit won both of their games against the Orlando Pride. After an unsuccessful inaugural season, the Pride acquired Ali Krieger from the Spirit in exchange for Orlando’s spot in the allocation ranking order. Krieger was one of several prominent Spirit players to depart the club this offseason.

The Spirit will play four preseason games against college teams, including their first ever game in Virginia. The Spirit will open their preseason campaign on March 18 with a game against Penn State. The following Saturday, the Spirit will head to Leesburg, Virginia to face the University of North Carolina at the Evergreen Sportsplex. On April 1, the Spirit will play Duke. The Spirit’s final preseason game will be on April 8 at 7pm against University of Virginia. Aside from the UNC game, all preseason matches will take place at the Maryland Socceplex.