Photo Credit: Robyn Walsh McNeil/ISI Photos
BOYDS, Md (Sept 2, 2016) – The Washington Spirit (11-3-2, 35 pts) will return to the Maryland SoccerPlex after the Olympic break and two weeks on the road to play the Western New York Flash (8-5-3, 27 pts) on Saturday, September 3 at 7 p.m. The Spirit currently has sole possession of first place in the league, sitting six points above second place Portland Thorns. A win or a draw on Saturday would guarantee the Spirit a playoff berth. The Flash is also making a playoff run this season, currently sitting in fourth place.
The first time the two teams met this season, the Spirit secured a 3-0 win over the Flash. Canadian midfielder Diana Matheson earned two goals for the Spirit, and Katie Stengel added a goal in the second half which solidified the win for Washington.
The Spirit has shown its offensive diversity this season with ten players scoring for the team. Christine Nairn has been on fire recently, scoring three times in the last two games. Cheyna Williams has used her speed to score her first two professional goals in the past three games.
The match on Saturday could see the return of the Spirit’s three Canadian players – Matheson, goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé, and center back Shelina Zadorsky – after their successful run to an Olympic bronze medal in Brazil. The three players will be looking to integrate back into their positions in the starting lineup, although with the strong performance of the Spirit while they were away, those spots are far from guaranteed. The Spirit will honor the bronze medalists in a special presentation right before kick off.
The Western New York Flash has had a strong season, reminiscent of the 2013 Flash team which made the inaugural NWSL Championship. Forwards Lynn Williams and Jessica McDonald are leading the Flash and the league in goals scored with eight and seven goals, respectively. In addition, eight other players have scored for the team, demonstrating the depth of the team’s bench and offensive attack.
The match will be livestreamed on YouTube: https://youtu.be/IegOcfqHwYA
The Spirit will be back at the Plex this Wednesday, September 7 at 7 p.m. to take on Seattle Reign FC in the final regular season home game. Tickets can be purchased at tickets.washingtonspirit.com