The Washington Spirit (1-12-4) will be in Rochester, N.Y. on Wednesday for a third and final meeting with the fourth-place Western New York Flash (7-4-6).
The Flash are currently holding onto the final playoff spot by four points over Boston, and are coming off a 3-0 win over second-place Sky Blue FC on July 21. Abby Wambach had two assists, while Carli Lloyd, Brittany Taylor and Samantha Kerr each found the net as Western New York earned a statement win in its push for the postseason.
Washington will be attempting to play the role of “spoiler” the rest of the way, while the team continues under the direction of new head coach Mark Parsons. Four of the team’s five remaining matches will be against opponents still in playoff contention.
The Spirit lost their last match 5-2 against Boston in front of a Maryland SoccerPlex crowd of 2,607 last Saturday. Diana Matheson broke the game open in the second minute with her team-leading seventh goal of the season, but the Breakers responded with four unanswered goals.
While Matheson took sole possession of fourth place among the NWSL leaders in goals, Conny Pohlers was another bright spot for the Spirit on Saturday. The German National Team forward scored her first goal of the season on a header after receiving a well-placed cross from Stephanie Ochs in the 73rd minute.
After drawing with Western New York 1:1 in inaugural Spirit home match back on April 20th, the Flash won the last two meetings with the Spirit, once at home and once on the road. A late penalty conversion by Diana Matheson cancelled out a Samantha Kerr goal in that first meeting.
Then on June 15 also at the SoccerPlex, the Flash came out on top 2-0. Veronica Perez and Vicki DiMartino scored first half goals to lead the charge, while the Flash defense held the Spirit to just three shots on goal.
Last time the teams took the field at Sahlen’s Stadium, back on June 28, the Flash handed the Spirit a 4-0 loss thanks to a hat trick by midfielder Carli Lloyd. Brittany Taylor added a fourth goal in stoppage time, and Wambach had two assists on the night. Washington reeled off nine shots, but goalkeeper Adrianna Franch posted one of her four clean sheets of the season.
Saturday will be a match-up of two of the league’s top goalkeepers, with Franch and Ashlyn Harris currently leading the NWSL in saves. Franch leads all players with 83 in 17 matches played, while Harris is close behind with 70 in only 15 appearances.
Washington’s Lori Lindsey is looking to extend her team-high starts streak to 18, having played every minute of regular season action for the Spirit.
For the Flash, Wambach’s 10 goals are tied with Boston’s Sydney Leroux and Kansas City’s Lauren Holiday for best in the league. Her six assists are also tied for third in the NWSL with Boston’s Heather O’Reilly.
The Flash and Spirit will kick off at Sahlen’s Stadium at 7:05 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The match will be shown via live stream at: http://www.livesportsvideo.com/golive/goliveevents.asp?q=WNYFlash&name=guestfree
After another road match on Saturday against Sky Blue FC, the Spirit will return home to face the Chicago Red Stars on Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are available at: https://tickets.washingtonspirit.com