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Seattle Reign FC vs. Washington Spirit 2018: Time, TV schedule and how to watch NWSL online

The Spirit are hoping to overcome a long and unpleasant history at Memorial Stadium

Nikita Taparia

For perhaps the first time all season, the Washington Spirit are approaching good health. Mallory Pugh is off the injury report and expected to play some part against Seattle Reign FC today, while Rose Lavelle looked sharp with the USWNT mid-week. That’s huge, because the Spirit will need to be at their very best to knock off one of the NWSL’s top teams.

The Spirit are also battling history in this one. Washington’s record in Seattle speaks for itself: 1W-1D-8L all-time, and they’ve taken just 1 point from 8 games at Memorial Stadium. It’s the site of their only two regulation playoff defeats ever, and they’ve conceded 22 goals at the aging venue. The Spirit’s only win in the state of Washington was also on their first visit, a 4-2 win that was nearly 5 12 years ago.

Key player: Andi Sullivan

The Reign midfield has no weaknesses: they’re smart, technical, athletic, and tough as nails. That usually lets them control the tempo and dictate the terms to their opponents, and when you let a team with their front three do that, you’re probably going to lose. Sullivan has the skill set to compete here, but has struggled at times this season to put all of her gifts together for 90 minutes.

That was the case the last time the Spirit visited Seattle, where Sullivan’s good moments were broken up by a few turnovers, particularly in a Reign-dominated first half. Sullivan has quietly improved as the season has gone on, but for Washington to get the job done tonight, she’ll have to take the next step in her progression.

Location: Memorial Stadium (Seattle, WA)

Kickoff time: 9:00pm Eastern

Projected Spirit starting 11: (3412) - Aubrey Bledsoe; Rebecca Quinn, Estelle Johnson, Tori Huster; Taylor Smith, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Andi Sullivan, Caprice Dydasco; Rose Lavelle; Francisca Ordega, Ashley Hatch

Bench: DiDi Haracic, Whitney Church, Joanna Lohman, Havana Solaun, Rose Lavelle, Mallory Pugh, Mallory Eubanks

This could be complicated. Lavelle had no setbacks with the USWNT and met up with the Spirit in Seattle, but the team’s game notes list Estefania Banini out with an MCL sprain. Lavelle may not be able to play more than 45 minutes given the quick turnaround, and Pugh probably can’t play more than 30, so we could see Lohman or Solaun get the start here instead. Through their injuries and some bad timing, Lavelle and Pugh have played just 39 minutes together in a Spirit uniform (and 10 of those were with Pugh on the sideline injured, as Washington had no subs).

If we made any mistakes in the 18 here, it would mean a spot on the bench for Farquharson or even Ship, who is close to making her first appearance since tearing her ACL last season.

Projected Seattle starting 11: (433) - Lydia Williams; Theresa Nielsen, Megan Oyster, Lauren Barnes, Christen Westphal; Allie Long, Jess Fishlock, Rumi Utsugi; Nahomi Kawasumi, Jodie Taylor, Megan Rapinoe

Left back Steph Catley, attacking midfielder Elizabeth Addo, and midfielder/forward Beverly Yanez are all out for this one, opening up some questions in the lineup. Westphal has gotten more time than former Spirit left back Alyssa Kleiner, but Vlatko Andonovski could give the latter a start against her old club in Catley’s spot. Rumu Utsugi is questionable with a calf strain and was subbed off early in their last game; if she can’t start, look for Morgan Andrews to get the nod instead. It’s worth noting that Utsugi could also play left back.

On top of all this, can Rapinoe start after 3 starts for the USWNT? If she’s rested, Jasmyne Spencer feels like the most likely option to replace her.

Referee: Mark Allatin

Available TV: None

Available streaming: NWSLsoccer.com and the NWSL app. Go90 ceased to exist as of the end of July.

What are you drinking?: Feels like the right day for a margarita. Suerte blanco, lime, triple sec.

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