We know the Washington Spirit have high hopes for their newest signings, Australian midfielder Chloe Logarzo and midfielder/defender Amy Harrison. However, thanks to the difficulties of following the W-League from the Eastern time zone, we didn’t get too many chances to watch them play for Sydney FC this season. Stumptown Footy’s Tyler Nguyen didn’t have that problem, and he’s here to give us a fuller picture of what the Spirit can expect out of their new Matildas:
The Spirit are doubling down on Australian talent this offseason, bringing in Sydney FC teammates Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison. It seems like a somewhat odd bet to make in a World Cup year when the two players will be missing large parts of the season, but the Australian national team camp ahead of the World Cup is likely to be shorter than the (extremely long) USWNT camp, and if Australia do well, there’s bound to be real interest in getting members of their team to play in the NWSL, so it makes sense to snap them up while they’re available.
The secret has been out about Chloe Logarzo ever since her goal against the US in the 2018 Tournament of Nations. You may even be familiar with her nickname, Chloe Golazo, earned through her habit of scoring spectacular long range goals. Her effort in the W-League Grand Final is a perfect example of the genre: running away from goal and facing the wrong way, she somehow manages to generate enough power in a strike to beat Perth Glory goalkeeper Eliza Campbell from the top of the box.
Goal #34 - Chloe Logarzo vs Perth Glory (GF) pic.twitter.com/PlgvO8gh4D— Jamie (@jamie_dunkin) February 16, 2019
It’s seemed inevitable that she would make it to the NWSL sooner than later, and it’s a credit to the Spirit for going out to get her.
This will be Logarzo’s first time in the NWSL, but it won’t be her first time in the States: in 2014 she played for the Colorado Pride in the USL W-League, earning rookie of the year honors and making the league best 11 ahead of her future teammate Rose Lavelle. Logarzo can play as an attacking midfielder but generally likes sitting a little deeper than Lavelle, connecting the midfield with the attack, and would likely play this role in a Spirit team at full strength.
If Logarzo is the sure thing, Amy Harrison is the far more interesting bet. Harrison has had some pretty tough luck with injury in her career: she tore an ACL in 2015, forcing her to miss the 2016 Olympic team. In early 2018, just a year after making her comeback, she tore both her ACL and MCL. Despite being out for such a long stretch of time and only sporadically making appearances in her 2019 W-League comeback season, she’s still considered a near-lock to make the World Cup squad, which speaks to how highly regarded she is within the Australian national team setup (as well as the shortage of defenders, which USWNT fans can relate to).
Harrison got her start in the Young Matildas as a deep midfielder, but she’s been deployed across the backline and most recently has begun to carve out a space for herself in the national team setup as a left fullback. Her midfield DNA means she’s comfortable on the ball and adept at pushing forward. She likes cutting inside with the ball at her feet and won’t hesitate to take a shot if the opportunity is available. In a Spirit team where fullbacks often see a lot of the ball — Caprice Dydasco led the team in touches in 2018 — Harrison’s attacking pedigree will be a huge asset.
Overall the Spirit have picked up two tidy and technical young players, a great fit for their ongoing bet on youth. Logarzo and Harrison both have high ceilings, but they’re also plenty experienced at a high level of play already, and if they can manage the transition to the NWSL well they’re going to be fantastic. Australian players don’t always translate well to the NWSL and the social environment can have a big impact: Katrina Gorry, a starting midfielder for the Matildas, had a tough time both at Kansas City and the Utah Royals in her two attempts at making it in the US. Bringing in the Logarzo and Harrison together, and from the same Australian club as their new teammate Aubrey Bledsoe, is a good way to lay the groundwork for a positive experience for them. All NWSL fans should hope that it goes well: strengthening the US-Australia pipeline is good for both leagues, as the two different development pathways in the two nations (with Australia’s emphasis on professional levels of play for a broader pool at a much younger age) offer an interesting contrast, and if things go well, Washington Spirit fans are in for a real treat.