Boyds, MD (August 7, 2017) – The Washington Spirit will make its second and final visit of the NWSL regular season to Orlando City Stadium on Tuesday evening for a midweek match-up with the Orlando Pride. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET with a live stream available on the go90 mobile app and website.
Washington is fresh off a breakout 4-1 road win against Sky Blue FC on Friday night in New Jersey, as the Spirit netted four unanswered goals in the second half after trailing 1-0 at the intermission. Rookie Arielle Ship had a hand in three of the four goals, scoring her first NWSL goal in the 51st minute to tie the game at 1-1, before assisting Cheyna Williams and fellow rookie Meggie Dougherty Howard on the next two, as Dougherty Howard also tallied her first as a pro player. Havana Solaun provided the assist on Ship’s equalizer and scored her team-leading fifth goal in the 87th minute on a penalty kick.
Tuesday’s game in Orlando will be the last of three meetings between the Spirit and Pride this season, following a 1-1 draw in Florida on April 22 and a 2-2 draw at the Maryland SoccerPlex on July 8. Both contests were decided by equalizers from the home side late in the second half. Orlando’s Danica Evans struck in the 86th minute to salvage a point in the April match-up, and a 90th minute penalty kick earned by Kristie Mewis and converted by Mallory Pugh helped the Spirit draw even in the July game.
“We’re looking to build off the momentum and the success we had in New Jersey in the second half,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “We want to maintain the same positive play, and we look forward to another opportunity to play in Orlando.”
Orlando is coming off a 1-1 home draw against the Chicago Red Stars in its most recent game on Saturday evening. Alex Morgan netted a 24th minute goal on an assist from Jasmyne Spencer to spot Orlando the lead, and Chicago equalized in the 53rd minute on a strike from Sofia Huerta, set up by Jennifer Hoy.
Overall, Washington’s attack on the road has been anchored by Solaun, who has scored four of her five goals away from home. She also leads the team with three assists on the season. Through her first seven pro appearances, Pugh has scored three goals for the Spirit, including two last time out against the Pride.
On the defensive side, Washington has held opponents to one or no goals in nine of its first 15 games this season. Canadian international goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé ranks fifth in the league in saves with 59, while Shelina Zadorsky’s 70 clearances is good for a team-high. Defender Whitney Church and Labbé have each played the maximum 1,350 minutes so far. Meanwhile, Estelle Johnson has racked up 51 interceptions and Kassey Kallman is coming off her most active statistical game of 2017, leading the squad with eight interceptions and three clearances against Sky Blue.
Five-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta leads Orlando with eight goals through her first 15 NWSL games, followed by three teammates – Camila, Alanna Kennedy and Jasmyne Spencer – who have found the net three times each. Marta and Camila are tied for the team lead with four assists apiece.
Defensively, Orlando has conceded 24 goals through its first 16 games. Defender Toni Pressley added nine clearances against Chicago to bring her team-leading season total to 72. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe has started the last 10 Pride games filling in for the injured Ashlyn Harris, recording one clean sheet while matching her season high of five saves in four different games.
Following Tuesday’s stop in Orlando, which concludes a run of four straight games on the road, the Spirit will return to the Maryland SoccerPlex to host the Boston Breakers on Saturday, August 12 in the NWSL Lifetime Game of the Week. [TICKETS]