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. Last will be the forwards:
The variety of talent the 2016 edition of the Washington Spirit had up top meant that general manager and head coach Jim Gabarra could mix and match starters and substitutes to keep opposing teams guessing and give many different looks.
Off season acquisition Katie Stengel made her mark during her first season with the Spirit scoring four goals, tied for second most on the team. 2015 NWSL Golden Boot winner Crystal Dunn added two regular season goals and two Championship goals to her growing NWSL goal resume.
2016 NWSL Draft pick forwards Cheyna Williams and Cali Farquharson brought speed to the front line. Williams found her stride mid season, scoring her first professional goal on July 31 against Sky Blue FC, and scored another two after that. Farquharson made an impressive 16 appearances during her rookie season before being sidelined with a torn ACL.
Another dangerous weapon, Francisca Ordega, scored two regular season goals and notched one assist. But her biggest goal of the season came in the playoff semifinal when she finished off a beautifully placed pass sequence to notch the game winning goal which gave the Spirit its first ever NWSL semifinal victory.
Listed as a midfielder but played as a forward all season, Estefania Banini was the most prolific goal scorer for the Spirit this season with five goals. The 2016 Spirit Golden Boot winner scored all of her goals in a 7-game stretch from June 18 to July 31, earning her NWSL Goal of the Week and Player of the Week in Week 13 and NWSL Player of the Month for July.
Though they never saw time on the roster, forwards Laura del Rio and Yanara Aedo contributed to the Spirit’s success by supporting the team at practice, either through playing as was the case with Aedo or through moral support and encouragement from an injured del Rio.
The team’s 1.5 goals per game average was the second best in Spirit history. In all, 11 different players scored goals, equaling the team’s previous record.
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