BOYDS, Md. (August 15, 2015) — The Washington Spirit (7-5-4, 25 points) will play the Chicago Red Stars (7-2-7, 30 points) on Sunday, August 16th at 8:30 p.m. EST. This is the Spirit’s first game in an upcoming three game road stretch.
“We feel very good going in to this game,” said head coach Mark Parsons. “The team is prepared and hungry to get back out there. We take a game at a time and know the performance required.”
The Spirit return to Chicago on Sunday to replay the June 20th match that was rained out earlier this summer. This weekend’s game will likely have a bit different tenor as both sides will have their non-American national team players available. For the Spirit, that is significant as head coach Mark Parsons will have the opportunity to field any of the three Nigerians, one Canadian, and one Australian he has on his roster. Chicago head coach Rory Dames is similarly in a good position to feature any one of his national team players including those from Canada or New Zealand.
Meanwhile, both the Spirit and the Red Stars will be without their United States National Team Players this weekend as the US plays Costa Rica in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 1:30 p.m. EST. Ashlyn Harris has had several good performances for the Spirit since her return from the World Cup, but Kelsey Wys’ proved herself an able back up in Harris’ absence and will no doubt feel at home getting back in the starting XI. Ali Krieger’s absence will mean a few changes in the midfield as coach Parsons will need to replace her steady and strong leadership in the center of the field.
The Spirit have called up veteran goalkeeper KJ Spisak in Harris’ absence. Spisak has been called up for the Spirit as an amateur in previous seasons, but this will be her first call up for the 2015 season. Spisak is also the head coach of the Washington Spirit Reserves, the current W-League Champions.
The return to Chicago is special for rookie defender Megan Oyster who grew up in nearby Naperville, Illinois. The Chicago resident made an impression during her first visit home scoring her first professional goal in front of friends and family during the ill-fated June 20th match. Though her goal didn’t count in the record books because the match was later abandoned, it remains a good memory for the return trip.
Sunday’s match is critical for the Spirit’s playoff aspirations. Anything less than a win will make Washington’s march toward the playoffs significantly more difficult. After a disappointing loss on the road in Boston and a heartbreaking 1-1 draw against the Flash at home, the Spirit are looking to bounce back and charge toward the post season with some momentum.
After their visit to Chicago the Spirit continue their three game road series against FC Kansas City on August 27th at 8 p.m. EST.