The Washington Spirit, coming off of a 1-1 draw in Chicago, face the Portland Thorns tonight in a key match for both teams. The Thorns suffered a disappointing 3-1 home loss to Sky Blue FC last week and are looking to bounce back tonight and in their upcoming midweek game. For Washington, collecting all three points will be big, as five of their next six games are on the road.
Key player: Kristie Mewis
Against Chicago last week, Mewis played in a more forward position. She was often the main source of attack and contributed to the Spirit’s goal. Whether she plays in the midfield or up top tonight, she’ll be crucial in the Spirit’s efforts to increase offensive production.
One area of concern last week was that when the Spirit’s defense suffered, the problems often started up top. In addition to missed passes and turnovers, there was often a gap between the forwards and midfielders and the Red Stars managed to exploit that space. Against Portland tonight, the Spirit need to defend as a unit and reduce turnovers.
Location: Maryland Soccerplex (Boyds, Maryland)
Kickoff time: 7:00pm Eastern
Projected Spirit starting 11: (4-3-3) - Stephanie Labbe; Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church, Shelina Zadorsky, Kassey Kallman; Meggie Dougherty Howard, Tori Huster, Kristie Mewis; Havana Solaun, Katie Stengel, Cheyna Williams
Bench: Didi Haracic, Alyssa Kleiner, Caprice Dydasco, Line Sigvardsen Jensen, Arielle Ship, Lindsay Agnew, Francisca Ordega
Mallory Pugh is doubtful for tonight’s game due to an ankle injury, while Tori Huster is no longer on the injury report after a lingering quad strain. Estefania Banini is expected to arrive in a week or two. She is currently waiting on a visa, per the Spirit.
Projected Portland starting 11: (4-3-3) - Adrianna Franch; Celeste Boureille, Emily Sonnett, Emily Menges, Meghan Klingenberg; Amandine Henry, Lindsey Horan, Allie Long; Nadia Nadim, Christine Sinclair, Hayley Raso
USWNT star Tobin Heath (back) has been out the entire season, and was recently moved to the 45 day disabled list. Winger Mallory Weber is out with a right quad strain. Nadim (4 goals on the season) returns after missing last week’s game.
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Available TV: None
What are you drinking?: Water!
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