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Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash 2018: Time, TV schedule and how to watch NWSL online

The Spirit are looking to get a little closer to the team directly above them in the standings

Nikita Taparia

It’s been nearly a month since the Washington Spirit have played a game at the Maryland SoccerPlex, but tonight the Spirit return home to face the Houston Dash. Washington will hope this turns the tide for the team, who are currently in 8th place, 10 points from moving up the NWSL standings. The good news for the Spirit is that they’ll face the team in 7th tonight.

Key player: Estefania Banini

Washington comes into tonight on an eight-game winless streak. Since the start of May, the Spirit have scored four goals (in twelve games) and half of those came in the Spirit’s last game against Houston, a 3-2 loss in which Banini and Ashley Hatch scored. Last week against North Carolina, Banini played as a forward (with Hatch up top and her sitting lower) instead of in the midfield as head coach Jim Gabarra switched to a 3-5-2. A 2-0 loss to North Carolina is almost an accomplishment in a weird way since they’re so dominant this season, but Gabarra will probably not stick with the 3-5-2 again tonight.

Particularly with Mallory Pugh still injured, Banini is a key link between the midfield and attack. Francisca Ordega’s return was a huge help to the Spirit that game, while Ordega isn’t on the injury report anymore (she had a concussion) it’s unlikely she’ll start in her first game back.

Location: Maureen Hendricks Field at Maryland SoccerPlex (Boyds, MD)

Kickoff time: 7:00pm Eastern

Projected Spirit starting 11: (4-2-3-1) - Aubrey Bledsoe; Taylor Smith, Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church, Caprice Dydasco; Rebecca Quinn, Tori Huster; Meggie Dougherty Howard, Andi Sullivan, Estefania Banini; Ashley Hatch

Bench: DiDi Haracic, Kelsey Wys, Maddie Huster, Joanna Lohman, Havana Solaun, Mallory Eubanks, Francisca Ordega

Rose Lavelle is out for national team duty, joining Pugh, Tiffany Weimer, Arielle Ship, Cali Farquharson, and Cheyna Matthews on the list of unavailable players. Maddie Huster is still on the roster at this point, despite rumors that she had signed abroad, and if the Spirit leave her off the gameday squad they’ll have just 6 subs available.

Projected Dash starting 11: (4-2-3-1) - Jane Cambell; Taylor Comeau, Amber Brooks, Lindsay Agnew, Kimberly Keever; Clare Polkinghorne, Linda Motlhalo; Nichelle Prince, Sofia Huerta, Thembi Kgatlana; Rachel Daly

Defender Allysha Chapman is out with a concussion, while attacker Kyah Simon is out due to left achilles tendinitis. Center back Janine Van Wyk is questionable because of a left hamstring strain. Bianca Henninger is on national team duty with Mexico and Kealia Ohai is with the USWNT. That’s 3 starters from their last game, including both wide midfielders.

Referee: Elvis Osmanovic

Available TV: None

Available streaming: go90.com and the go90 app for American viewers, NWSLsoccer.com for international fans. FYI go90 will cease operations at the end of July and NWSL games will be streamed on the NWSL website and app.

What are you drinking?: Water but if anyone of you hears of a drink that will keep thunderstorms away from the Plex, that’d be a big help considering the pessimistic forecast for tonight (fortunately probably just rain and not actual lightning).

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