This week will be a huge week for Germantown’s hometown professional sports team, as the Washington Spirit, prepare for the final playoff push with two big home games at the Maryland SoccerPlex. They face one of the teams they are chasing in the playoff hunt on Wednesday, and the team which is directly behind them in the standings on Saturday.
The Spirit, which is currently in fourth place in the National Women’s Soccer League standings, will face off against second-place FC Kansas City tomorrow night Wednesday, July 30 at 7pm.
Wednesday’s game will feature United States Women’s National Team members Becky Sauerbrunn, Nicole Barnhart, and Lauren Holiday, formerly Lauren Cheney, as stand-outs for FC Kansas City pitted against the Spirit’s own USWNT heroes in Allie Krieger, Yael Averbuch and goaltender Ashlyn Harris.
These teams have played twice so far this year and split the games 1-1, with the Spirit taking the earlier game 3-1 on April 19 at the SoccerPlex and FCKC winning 2-1 in Kansas City on May 11.
At Wednesday’s game the Spirit will participate in Passback and ask everyone attending Wednesday’s game to bring gently used or new soccer gear to be donated and redistributed to help children in underserved communities play soccer.
With only four games left in the regular season, the Spirit’s second, and perhaps more important, at the SoccerPlex this week takes place on Saturday as the fifth place Chicago Red Stars roll into town with their sights set on taking the fourth and final playoff spot.
The Spirit are currently tied with the Red Stars at 28 points, however the Spirit have a better records at 8-8-4, while the Red Stars are 6-7-7. The Spirit have bested the Red Stars in the two previous regular season meetings, both games were won by the narrowest 1-0 margin. The Red Stars are led by USNWT members Shannon Boxx and Christen Press.
With only four games remaining in the regular season, these two games are of utmost importance for the Spirit's playoff hopes. The other two remaining games are a road game against league the league leading Seattle Reign on August 9 and a final home game against New Jersey-based FC Sky Blue on August 16.
The Spirit announced this week that forward Renae Cuellar will miss the next 4-6 weeks of the NWSL season due to a partial meniscus tear in her right knee.
In the upcoming weeks, Cuellar will have an arthroscopic procedure and she is expected to make a full recovery. Cuellar should be back in time to join Mexico for their Women’s World Cup qualifying campaign in October.
For ticket information visit WashingtonSpirit.com
Caption: Washington Spirit's Diana Matheson challenges the Chicago Red Star's Michelle Winino.
Photo Credit: Tony Quinn