The Washington Spirit in 2016 was all about one word: team. There were 24 players who contributed to the most successful season in Spirit history. We’re taking a look back at each positional group and their success in 2016. Next will be the midfielders:
Of all the positional groups on the field, the midfield stayed the most constant throughout the season. The trio of Joanna Lohman, Tori Huster, and Christine Nairn started ¾ of the regular season matches, forming a comfortable rhythm with each other that was difficult for other teams to break down.
The three midfield stalwarts combined for eight goals and five assists during the regular season, and Nairn added another assist during the semifinal. The now 2-time Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Diana Matheson, who split her time with the Spirit this season between being a midfielder and a forward, added another four goals herself.
The Spirit’s lone mid season acquisition, Danish international Line Sigvardsen Jensen, stepped in and started both matches against Seattle Reign FC to give a break to key players during a 3 game in 8 days stretch toward the end of the season.
Another key part of the midfield was 2016 NWSL Draft pick Alli Murphy out of Texas Tech who was an amateur call up for seven matches in 2016 and contributed all season during practice, helping the midfield stay strong and have a banner year.
After playing in 21 matches in 2016, Huster still holds the record for most all time appearances for the Spirit with 83. Matheson held onto her position as the most prolific goal scorer in Spirit history with a combined 23 goals over her four years with the club. Diminutive Diana also holds the record for most assists for the Spirit with 12. Nairn, who was voted Spirit MVP for 2016, moved into fourth place for all time NWSL assists with 15. Lohman’s four goals in 2016 was a NWSL career best for the 34-year-old veteran.
Looking ahead, despite the trade of Nairn to Seattle, the depth of the squad along with addition of Kristie Mewis from Boston, ensures the midfield engine room will keep on driving the team towards a record fourth playoff appearance in 2017.
The Washington Spirit will start selling season tickets for the 2017 NWSL season soon. If you are an existing season ticket holder, our sales staff will be reaching out to you individually. If you are interested in becoming a new season ticket holder, please fill out this deposit form which will give you priority in choosing your seats.