Spirit Begins Three-Game Road Stretch on Sunday Night in Chicago
The Washington Spirit will play the first of three straight road games on Sunday night against the Chicago Red Stars at Toyota Park. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. ET and is available to stream on go90.
This will be the last match between the Spirit and Red Stars during the 2018 regular season, and only matchup at Toyota Park. In their first two meetings at the Maryland SoccerPlex, the sides played to a 1-1 draw on April 28 and Chicago won a 2-0 match on June 2.
During the first matchup with Chicago in April, Nigerian international Francisca Ordega scored a tap-in goal off a pass from Mallory Pugh in the fourth minute to put the Spirit ahead early. The goal pushed Ordega’s career-long scoring streak to three games.
Washington is coming off a tough 1-0 defeat against the Orlando Pride entering the final matchup against the Red Stars. On the other side, the Red Stars are coming in to Sunday’s match earning points in their last three games.
Washington’s back line, led by goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe and defenders Caprice Dydasco, Whitney Church, Estelle Johnson, and Taylor Smith, held opponents to only three goals in four games during the month of June. Bledsoe topped off the month with NWSL Player of the Week honors from the NWSL Media Association for Week 11 and 12, after earning back-to-back shutouts and adding to her league-leading 64 saves.
The Spirit defense will aim to limit the Red Star offense, led by Samantha Kerr (5 goals, 1 assist) and Sofia Huerta (4 goals, 2 assists). The two have combined to score six goals while playing at Toyota Park this season.
Washington will look toward Ashley Hatch (3 goals, 1 assist) and Ordega (3 goals), the Spirit’s leading scorers, to help break the club’s recent scoring slump. Andi Sullivan (1 assist) is only one of two players in the NWSL to play the full 90 minutes of every game for her team as a rookie this season.
The three-game stretch of road matches will continue with the Spirit traveling to Orlando to face the Pride on July 7, before heading to North Carolina for a midweek match on July 11 against the Courage.
In other news, the Spirit announced the signing of midfielder Maddie Huster, a rookie from Wake Forest University. She was a third round selection in the 2018 NWSL College Draft by Washington. She previously made the NWSL roster as a National Team Replacement Player during the FIFA window earlier this month. Huster, who is the sister of Washington Spirit’s longest tenured player Tori Huster, has also previously represented the Spirit organization with the Reserves team for multiple seasons, highlighted by a 2015 W-League Championship title. She is a former U.S. Youth National Team player, receiving call-ups at the U-14, U-15, U-18, U-20 and U-23 levels.
The Spirit will return to the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday, July 21 when the Spirit host the Houston Dash at 7:00 pm.
Top: The Washington Spirit will travel to Chicago to play the Red Stars on Sunday night.
Next: Spirit defender Caprice Dydasco and the Spirit backline have held opponents to only three goals in four games during the month of June.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.