After the Washington Spirit entered the season with three players out due to ACL tears, it was hard to see how things could get worse. But then Joanna Lohman tore her ACL in the opening minutes of the season, and three additional Spirit starters will also be out today. Cheyna Williams strained her groin, Katie Stengel suffered a bone bruise, and Kristie Mewis strained her left quad. One comfort for the Spirit is that the Houston Dash, who the Spirit face today, also have key players injured. Andressa and Morgan Brian, two key cogs in the Dash’s midfield are doubtful for this evening’s game.
Key player: Havana Solaun
The Spirit have struggled to create a potent attack in both games so far, and that will be even more difficult due to the injuries to Williams, Stengel, and Mewis. The team recently signed Crystal Thomas, a former Georgetown forward who was with the team in preseason, but that’s likely not enough to recover from these setbacks.
Havana Solaun is key to today’s game since she has looked like the Spirit’s best remaining creative option. Solaun is crafty, and while she can’t fill Stengel’s back to goal role, she can function as an attacking midfielder or as a forward. The Spirit’s best game plan today is to sit back and absorb Kealia Ohai’s attacks and then counter-attack in transition and take advantage of the Dash’s weak midfield without Brian or Andressa in the picture. Solaun is the Spirit’s best bet to make this happen.
Location: Maryland Soccerplex (Boyds, MD)
Kickoff time: 7:00pm Eastern
Projected Spirit starting 11: (3-5-2) - Stephanie Labbe; Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church, Shelina Zadorsky; Alyssa Kleiner, Tori Huster, Line Sigvardsen Jensen, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Kassey Kallman; Havana Solaun, Lindsay Agnew
Bench: Didi Haracic, Cameron Castleberry, Arielle Ship, Crystal Thomas, Francisca Ordega
No fewer than seven Spirit players (over 1⁄3 of an NWSL roster, which only has 20 spots) are injured.
Projected Dash starting 11: (4-3-3) - Lydia Williams; Cari Roccaro, Janine Van Wyk, Bruna Benites, Poliana; Denise O’Sullivan, Amber Brooks, Claire Falknor; Rachel Daly, Janine Beckie, Kealia Ohai
Referee: Christina Unkel
Available TV: None
Available streaming: Go90, both as an app and online at go90.com.
What are you drinking?: As always, water.
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