Boyds, MD (September 8, 2017) – The Washington Spirit will play its final road game of 2017 on Sunday evening as the team looks to complete a three-game season series sweep of Sky Blue FC. Kickoff from Yucak Field in Piscataway, N.J. is set for 6 p.m. ET.
Washington earned a 4-3 win in the first meeting of the season between the sides back on May 6 at the Maryland SoccerPlex, and followed that up with a 4-1 rout for a road win on August 4 in New Jersey.
“We’re looking forward to playing against a good quality team,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “We’ve had a couple of pretty exciting, high scoring matches against Sky Blue, and we want to have another good team performance and get another win.”
Sunday’s match-up with Sky Blue will finish off a set of two straight road games for the Spirit, who will look to rebound from a loss against Portland Thorns FC last Saturday. Washington’s Cheyna Williams and Havana Solaun are tied for the team lead with five goals each, and Solaun is tied with Francisca Ordega for a team-high three assists.
Sky Blue is led by Australian international forward Sam Kerr, who is well on her way to capturing the NWSL Golden Boot with 16 goals, 11 of which have come at Yurcak Field. The Spirit is the only opposing NWSL club she has not scored against this season.
“It’s a really dynamic attack that they have, so we’ve got to make sure we take care of our chances and also limit how many chances [Kerr] gets, which means always being aware of where she is on the field and where she’s most dangerous,” Gabarra said.
In addition to slowing down Kerr, the Spirit defense will be tasked with limiting opportunities for U.S. international Kelley O’Hara (3 goals, 2 assists), Maya Hayes (4 goals, 3 assists) and the rest of the Sky Blue attack, which ranks third in the NWSL with 36 goals on the season.
Canadian international center back Shelina Zadorsky leads the Spirit with 78 defensive clearances through her first 18 appearances, and she is tied with Whitney Church for the most blocked shots with 16.
In the midfield, Washington’s Tori Huster has led the team in passing for each of the past three games, racking up 142 total passes. Rookie Meggie Dougherty Howard will look for another strong performance against Sky Blue after scoring her first career goal in the Spirit’s last visit to Yurcak Field.
Following this weekend’s road test, the Spirit will return to the Maryland SoccerPlex to close out the season with back-to-back home games, hosting the Boston Breakers [TICKETS] on Sept. 23 and Seattle Reign FC on Sept. 30. [TICKETS]