After struggling at the start of the 2017 season, the Washington Spirit posted an electric performance last Saturday, beating Sky Blue 4-3. The Spirit had trouble on offense in their first three games, but managed to score four goals last weekend. Sky Blue was missing several key players, sure, but it was a positive sign for the Spirit’s potential. Today, the Spirit face Seattle Reign FC on the Reign’s home turf. If the Reign press hard and play to their potential, this game could be a tough one for Washington. But Seattle has looked pretty weak in some games this season, namely in a 3-0 loss to the Boston Breakers, and the Spirit managed to get a point in their previous road game.
Key player: Line Sigvardsen Jensen
Sigvardsen Jensen had a sneaky good game last week. She helped set up goals and linked up well with Francisca Ordega. Sigvardsen Jensen was also key to the Spirit’s midfield defensively and helped prevent turnovers. She posted a high pass completion rate in a match where both the Spirit and Sky Blue struggled to maintain long stretches of possession.
The Reign press hard against all opponents but against the Spirit their pressure will likely be more effective. If the Spirit return to the three-back again after playing a 4-3-3 last week, the Reign will likely aim to catch the Spirit in transition. As such, Sigvardsen Jensen’s role will be imperative and a strong Spirit midfield is essential to Washington winning.
Location: Memorial Stadium (Seattle, Washington)
Kickoff time: 4:00pm Eastern
Projected Spirit starting 11: (3-5-2) Stephanie Labbe; Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church, Shelina Zadorsky; Havana Solaun, Line Sigvardsen Jensen, Tori Huster, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Kassey Kallman; Cheyna Williams, Francisca Ordega
Bench: DidI Haracic, Alyssa Kleiner, Kristie Mewis, Crystal Thomas, Arielle Ship
Kristie Mewis’ status has been upgraded to probable and Cheyna Williams is no longer listed on the injury report but Katie Stengel - who made the trip out - is still out with a bone bruise. Cameron Castleberry will be absent for today’s match
Projected Reign starting 11: (4-3-3) - Haley Kopmeyer; Carson Pickett, Rebekah Stott, Rachel Corsie, Lauren Barnes; Christine Nairn, Rumi Utsugi, Jess Fishlock; Naho Kawasumi, Beverly Yanez, Megan Rapinoe
Merritt Mathias is serving a three-game suspension for “major game misconduct.”
Referee: Victor Rivas
Available streaming: Go90 app and go90.com
For listings in other countries, check out NWSLsoccer.
What are you drinking?: I’ll be writing the recap and drinking water.
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