Boyds, MD (June 22, 2017) – After earning a point on the road last weekend in Chicago, the Washington Spirit (2-5-2, 8 pts) returns home to the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday evening to host Portland Thorns FC (4-2-3, 15 pts).
Prior to the 7 p.m. ET kickoff, the Spirit and Thorns FC will join together in honoring former U.S. Women’s National Team head coach and women’s soccer pioneer Tony DiCicco with a Moment of Silence. DiCicco passed away on Monday at the age of 68.
Saturday will be the only time Portland Thorns FC visits the Spirit this regular season. The Thorns’ roster features four healthy U.S. Women’s National Team players, including defenders Meghan Klingenberg and Emily Sonnett, and midfielders Allie Long and Lindsey Horan. Portland had a six-game unbeaten streak snapped last Saturday, June 17 in a 3-1 home loss to Sky Blue FC at Providence Park.
“We look forward to both the opportunity to play at home and the challenge that the Thorns present,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “They have a very talented roster and will bring out the best in us in what should be a very entertaining and well played match.”
Washington has rebounded from a slow start to the season by winning two of its past three home games, finding the net six times in victories over Sky Blue FC and the Houston Dash. Midfielder Havana Solaun and Nigerian international forward Francisca Ordega are tied for the team lead with three goals each. Ordega, who scored her third goal of 2017 in the 1-1 draw at Chicago on June 17, has also recorded a team-high two assists.
In her first year with the Spirit, Kristie Mewis has quickly established herself as a leader on the attack, scoring two goals and notching an assist since returning from a minor injury early in the season.
On the defensive side, Washington has held its opponents to one or zero goals in six of its first nine regular season games. Canadian international goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé and the Spirit back line earned their first clean sheet of 2017 in their last home game, a 2-0 win over Houston. Labbé enters Saturday’s tilt with Portland tied for second in the NWSL with 41 saves.
Defenders Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church and Canadian international Shelina Zadorsky have all played the maximum 810 minutes this season along with Labbé. Zadorsky leads the Spirit with 41 clearances and 10 blocks, while Johnson’s 29 tackles and 29 interceptions are both team highs as well.
Denmark international forward Nadia Nadim leads Portland with four goals on the season, while Klingenberg has recorded a team-high two assists. Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch is tied for fourth in the NWSL with 34 saves entering the weekend. Franch and the Thorns back line have allowed only eight goals in their first nine games, which is tied with the Chicago Red Stars for the lowest total in the league.
Nearly 3,000 tickets had been sold for Saturday’s game as of Thursday afternoon. [TICKETS]
Tickets for all Washington Spirit home games are available now at Tickets.WashingtonSpirit.com.