The Washington Spirit are on the road to face the Chicago Red Stars in their third game of the NWSL Fall Series. Thanks to the strangeness of 2020, it’s late September and the Spirit are facing their first true road game of the year. At least the foe is a familiar one, as Washington has posted two different 2-1 victories over the Red Stars. That said, with Chicago coming off of a 4-1 romp over Sky Blue FC last weekend, the Spirit should be ready for a really tough game.
Location: SeatGeek Stadium (Bridgeview, IL)
Kickoff time: 1:00pm Eastern
Projected Spirit starting 11: (433) - Aubrey Bledsoe; Natalie Jacobs, Paige Nielsen, Sam Staab, Dorian Bailey; Bailey Feist, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Kumi Yokoyama; Meghan McCool, Ashley Hatch, Ashley Sanchez
Bench: Devon Kerr, Katie Lund, Brooke Hendrix, Jenna Hellstrom, Jessie Scarpa, Katie McClure, Averie Collins, Crystal Thomas
Hatch was listed as questionable on the injury report, but Richie Burke told me Thursday that she should be good to go. However, Washington’s list of injured players maintained its size, with Jaye Boissiere (hip) being out today after starting two weeks ago.
Of the five players Washington will be missing, four (Boissiere, Jordan DiBiasi, Tori Huster, and Andi Sullivan) are capable of playing in central midfield. One way to address that would be giving Hellstrom a start at either fullback position, which would in turn allow Bailey to potentially move up into the midfield. If it’s not a move we see from the start, it’s something we’ll probably see as the game wears on.
Meanwhile, Yokoyama may end up playing centrally again after spending the second half of the Spirit’s 2-1 win over Chicago underneath the forwards before halftime, and then as part of a midfield trio after the Red Stars had Savannah McCaskill sent off.
Projected Red Stars starting 11: (4231) - Alyssa Naeher; Bianca St. Georges, Zoe Morse, Sarah Gorden, Casey Short; Danny Colaprico, Morgan Gautrat; Sarah Luebbert, Vanessa DiBernardo, Kealia Watt; Savannah McCaskill
Rory Dames may end up having everyone on his Fall Series roster available for this one, with four players listed as questionable and none under the dreaded “Out” section. This is just a guess, but I’m predicting a start for Short, while Tierna Davidson may sub in at center back later in the game.
Otherwise, though, Chicago torched Sky Blue FC 4-1 last weekend, and despite the clean-ish bill of health, they don’t have a ton of players available anyway. As such, don’t expect major changes, though McCaskill could return after serving a suspension after being sent off at Segra Field.
Referee: Tori Penso
Available TV: CBS
Available streaming: CBS All Access (U.S.), Twitch (international)
What do we have to say about it?: On my Spirit podcast, I did a preview show for this one with Emily Olsen, and then a separate episode chatting with Dorian Bailey that came out yesterday:
The promised second episode this week is here! @Dorian_Bailey19 came on the show to talk #CatchTheSpirit's game tomorrow, shoes, barbeque, and having to play pretty much every position there is in soccer https://t.co/Tt7Dc6So2P— Plex Weather (@PlexWeather) September 25, 2020
What are you drinking?: Probably nothing more extravagant than some cold brew coffee.
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