Boyds, MD (May 11, 2017) – The Washington Spirit (1-2-1, 4 pts) will make its first West Coast trip of the season for a Saturday afternoon match-up with Seattle Reign FC (1-1-2, 5 pts) at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4:00 p.m. ET.
Washington is fresh off its first victory of the season, a 4-3 decision against Sky Blue FC on May 6 at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Nigerian international forward Francisca Ordega netted two goals, assisted Havana Solaun with a perfect through ball on another, and forced a Sky Blue own goal in the best performance so far in her young NWSL career.
Ordega, who is only 23 years old, was honored as NWSL Player of the Week for her direct involvement in all four of the Spirit’s goals during the win. Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé had another standout performance as well with six saves on the evening, including a critical one-handed deflection in stoppage time on a free kick taken by U.S. Women’s National Team two-way player Kelley O’Hara. Labbé now leads the league with 23 saves this season.
Seattle has earned at least one point in three of its first four regular season matches, including it its most recent outing, a 2-2 draw on the road against Pacific Northwest neighbor Portland Thorns FC. Seattle’s high-powered attack, led by Jess Fishlock and Megan Rapinoe, has racked up a league-high eight goals this season. Fishlock and Rapinoe are among eight players tied for second in the NWSL with two goals each.
“All our Seattle matches are enjoyable as both teams have a similar philosophy and style of play,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “Seattle has a very experienced and dangerous roster, and presents numerous challenges. We look forward to the opportunity to continue our momentum from our last match.”
Washington will seek its first win at Seattle since the clubs’ first ever meeting on May 16, 2013 when the Spirit came out on top 4-2. Seattle is currently unbeaten in its last eight home matches, winning six and earning two draws, while outscoring opponents 20-6 during the streak dating back to last season.
While Seattle leads the NWSL in goals scored, the club is also tied with Houston and Orlando for the most goals allowed on the season with seven. Both Washington and Seattle are among the six NWSL clubs that have a goal differential of +1, 0 or -1 through their first four matches.
Prior to last Saturday’s 4-3 win against Sky Blue FC, the Spirit had not conceded more than one goal in any of its first three contests. Along with superb goalkeeping from Labbé, the team has relied on strong defensive play from its back line and midfield. Tori Huster leads the Spirit with 176 passes attempted on the season, while Whitney Church is first on the team with 20 clearances and 5 blocks. Kassey Kallman has recorded a team-high 15 interceptions.
Seattle defender Lauren Barnes leads the Reign with 249 total passes attempted, 21 clearances and 10 interceptions through her first four matches. She is also tied with Fishlock for the team lead with three blocks.
The Spirit will return home to Maureen Hendricks Field at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday, May 20 for the team’s first meeting of the season with FC Kansas City. [Tickets]
Tickets for all Spirit home matches are available now at https://tickets.washingtonspirit.com
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