The Washington Spirit could use a home win pretty badly right now, but hosting Seattle Reign FC means it’s certainly not going to come easily. Coming off of a 0-0 draw against Sky Blue FC that did little to boost their flagging hopes, the Spirit host a Seattle team that is justifiably sitting in second place in the NWSL. Back in the season opener, the Spirit traveled to Seattle and lost 2-1, with Joanna Lohman scored the lone goal for Washington.
Key player: Taylor Smith
Recently right back Taylor Smith has seen time up top while the Spirit dealt with a ton of injuries and national team absences that hampered their attack. While this week’s injury report doesn’t offer much of a respite, Washington is getting Francisca Ordega, Rose Lavelle and Rebecca Quinn back from international duty. With Whitney Church out tonight, Smith will likely return to her right back spot for the full 90.
In the Spirit’s game against Seattle earlier this season, Smith had a tough time defending Megan Rapinoe, who dominated the game. Overall this season Smith has improved since then, but this evening will still be a challenge. Seattle has seven players returning from international duty so it’s possible the team is a bit out of sync but the Spirit’s backline will still need to put in a strong performance.
Location: Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex (Boyds, MD)
Kickoff time: 7:00pm Eastern
Projected Spirit starting 11: (4-3-3) - Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Rebecca Quinn, Estelle Johnson, Caprice Dydasco; Tori Huster, Andi Sullivan, Meggie Dougherty Howard; Francisca Ordega, Ashley Hatch, Estefania Banini
Bench: Kelsey Wys, Morgan Proffitt, Joanna Lohman, Rose Lavelle, Yanara Aedo, Tiffany Weimer
The Spirit have 7 players listed as out (Whitney Church, Mallory Eubanks, Cali Farquharson, Cheyna Matthews, Mallory Pugh, Arielle Ship, and Havana Solaun), and Wys is listed as questionable with a knee issue. If she can’t go, DiDi Haracic will be the backup GK. Elsewhere, it is not entirely clear whether Washington’s national team replacement players DeBree and Maddie Huster are still under contract now that the FIFA window is closed. We’ll update this post if we find out more before the game.
Update 10:36am: The Spirit have released their national team replacement players, so they’ll have no more than 6 subs available for today’s game unless they dress both Haracic and Wys.
Projected Seattle starting 11: (4-3-3) - Lydia Williams; Christen Westphal, Kristen McNabb, Lauren Barnes, Steph Catley; Jess Fishlock, Allie Long, Rumi Utsugi; Naho Kawasumi, Jodie Taylor, Megan Rapinoe
Jess Fishlock is questionable due to a quad strain, a potentially huge absence. However, Fishlock has played through injury before, so it would not be a surprise to see her in the lineup. If she can’t play, Beverly Yanez is probably her replacement. The Reign recently acquired Adriana Leon from Sky Blue, and she may make her debut today.
Referee: Lorant Varga
Available TV: None
What are you drinking?: Water
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