After a 1-0 home loss to FC Kansas City last weekend, the Washington Spirit face the same opponent on the road tonight. USWNT phenom Mallory Pugh made her Spirit debut last week, entering as a second-half substitute. Pugh made an immediate and strong impact on an under-performing Spirit attack. Pugh is expected to start the next couple of games before she leaves for USWNT training camp.
Last week, the Spirit gave up some opportunities through the middle, where midfield linchpin Tori Huster was missing due to injury. Huster is out again this week, so Washington will have to find a way to get the job done without one of their best players.
Key player: Mallory Pugh
Pugh’s debut last week provided a boost to the Spirit attack particularly since she was matched up against FC Kansas City’s weaker side. Luckily for the Spirit, Pugh’s style fits in pretty well with the existing Washington approach, so there wasn’t a huge adjustment style-wise for either party.
Pugh was never expected to start last week, but she’ll certainly start today. The Spirit had a four goal outburst against Sky Blue but outside that, the attack hasn’t been impressive this year, so Washington needs her adjustment to the pro game to be a quick one. She won’t single-handedly take the Spirit from a 10th place team to the playoffs, but she should help add some creativity to an attack that needs it.
Location: Swope Soccer Village (Kansas City, Missouri)
Kickoff time: 8:00pm Eastern
Projected Spirit starting 11: (4-3-3) - Stephanie Labbe; Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church, Shelina Zadorsky, Alyssa Kleiner; Meggie Dougherty Howard, Line Sigvardsen Jensen, Kristie Mewis; Cheyna Williams, Katie Stengel, Mallory Pugh
Bench: Didi Haracic, Kassey Kallman, Cameron Castleberry, Havana Solaun, Lindsay Agnew, Arielle Ship, Francisca Ordega
Projected FC Kansas City starting 11: (4-3-3) - Nicole Barnhart; Brittany Taylor, Becky Sauerbrunn, Yael Averbuch, Christina Gibbons; Lo’eau LaBonta, Alexa Newfield, Becca Moros; Shea Groom, Sydney Leroux, Brittany Ratcliffe
Available TV: None
What are you drinking?: I’m going to an indoor football game this afternoon and then coming home to watch the Spirit, so either water or some drink I take home.
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