Boyds, MD (April 18, 2018) – Washington Spirit Head Coach and General Manager Jim Gabarra said the team is focusing on their strengths, including generating attacking chances in transition, ahead of Friday’s match-up with Portland Thorns FC.
Coming off a 4-2 loss at home against first place North Carolina Courage, Washington will look to bounce back by earning three points on the road in their second West Coast trip of the season.
“[Portland] is a difficult place to play,” Gabarra said after training on Wednesday. “We’re focusing on getting things corrected from the past match, and we’re focusing on us. It’s always a challenge playing in Portland, so we’ve got to get our shape right. We’ve got to focus on our positives, and where we’re dangerous, which is our attack in transition.”
The Spirit attack flashed its firepower throughout the second half of the season opener on March 24 against Seattle, and during the final 10 minutes of its 2-0 win over the Orlando Pride on March 31. Washington’s offense racked up seven second half shots in Seattle, including a 68th minute goal by Joanna Lohman, and found their stride once again late in the game against Orlando when Mallory Pugh and Ashley Hatch found the net in the closing minutes to secure the victory.
Washington is the only team that has scored against North Carolina this season, through the Courage’s first four games.
“I thought [the attack] was the strength of our performance was our front three, and Mal [Pugh] coming out of the midfield,” Gabarra said. “Any time against a really top defensive team like that, when you can not only score two goals, but create an awful lot of chances. I think a bounce here or a bounce there, and we clean up some things, and it could have easily been 4-2 to us.”
“There’s a lot of positives to take from it, and just like we’ve done from previous games this season, we’re looking to build on that performance,” Gabarra continued.
The Spirit will visit Portland’s Providence Park on Friday night in the first of three meetings between the clubs during the 2018 NWSL regular season. Kickoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET with a live stream available on go90. [WATCH]
The Spirit returns home on Saturday, April 28 to host the Chicago Red Stars for another 7 p.m. kickoff at the Maryland SoccerPlex. [TICKETS]