The long-rumored possibility of the Washington Spirit playing a home game at D.C. United’s new stadium has been confirmed. Both clubs announced today that Audi Field will host a match between the Spirit and the defending NWSL champion Portland Thorns FC on August 25th at 7:00pm. A pre-sale for Spirit and United season ticket holders will start on May 1st, with additional pre-sales to follow.
The Spirit have left the home venue for this game open all season, and they’ve made no secret of their talks with United over hosting a game at Buzzard Point. “It’s a priority for us,” Spirit president Chris Hummer said to B&RU after the NWSL draft back in January. “We want to see what the demand is like, so we can make decisions about the future, about if we want to play more games there in 2019.”
In a joint release, United president of business operations Tom Hunt said “Our plan from the beginning was to build a stadium that serves as a home for soccer in the nation’s capital and we hope this game is so successful that it leads to more Washington Spirit fixtures at Audi Field in the future.”
Spirit assistant coach Briana Scurry, who spent the final two seasons of her career playing for the Washington Freedom, said “This is a fantastic opportunity for our D.C. fans who haven’t been out to the Plex recently, to see how far women’s professional soccer has come. It’s great to have women’s pro soccer back in D.C.” in the same release.
The Washington Post’s Steve Goff has reported that certain sections of Audi Field will not be opened for this game unless ticket sales require opening them up.
Sections in upper deck and southeast corner (101-116) are closed unless demand warrants it. https://t.co/wvo6qmXpfR— Steven Goff (@SoccerInsider) April 26, 2018
Washington’s improved roster means that this game could be pivotal for more reasons than simply boosting the Spirit’s profile in the region. The Spirit will play their final three regular season games at home, and in a league that tends to be extremely competitive when it comes to the last playoff spot, winning those games could propel Washington back into the postseason after finishing last in 2017.