After a run of six games without a win, the Washington Spirit rebounded against last place Sky Blue FC on Wednesday, earning a 1-0 win. Tonight, they have a chance to crawl out of eighth place, as they’re on the road against the 7th place Houston Dash this evening. Last week the Dash earned a surprise 2-1 win over the Seattle Reign but on the whole, the Dash haven’t impressed much this season.
Key player: Ashley Hatch
Hatch took a while to start coming into her own for the Spirit this year. Hatch produced above-average numbers last year in part because of her role in Paul Riley’s system down in North Carolina. This year though she took a while to click with the players around, her but in the past two games she’s really shown improvement. Though the Spirit were shutout against Portland, she was linking up more with Mallory Pugh and anticipating what Pugh would do.
Wednesday night, it paid off. Hatch capped off a strong second half by scoring her second goal of the season thanks to a free kick from Andi Sullivan that found Hatch’s head. Houston’s defense isn’t particularly strong so a Spirit attack could do some damage. While it’s unlikely that Rose Lavelle will start this evening, any attack with some combination of Hatch, Pugh, Francisca Ordega, Estefania Banini, and Mallory Eubanks can produce a lot more than the Spirit have been this season. For the Spirit to start fighting their way of the bottom of the table, the production will need to improve.
Location: BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, TX)
Kickoff time: 8:00pm Eastern
Projected Spirit starting 11: (4-3-3) - Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church, Caprice Dydasco; Tori Huster, Andi Sullivan, Estefania Banini; Mallory Pugh, Ashley Hatch, Mallory Eubanks
Bench: Kelsey Wys, Rebecca Quinn, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Joanna Lohman, Rose Lavelle, Havana Solaun, Francisca Ordega
With tonight being the third game for the Spirit in eight days, expect some rotation.
Projected starting 11: (4-2-3-1) - Jane Cambell; Allysha Chapman, Janine Van Wyk, Amber Brooks, Kimberly Keever; Linda Motlhalo, Kristie Mewis; Nichelle Prince, Kyah Simon, Kealia Ohai; Rachel Daly
Referee: Katja Koroleva
Available TV: None
What are you drinking?: Probably some Hawaiian Punch
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