Washington, D.C. (August 24, 2018) – The Washington Spirit will welcome reigning NWSL champion Portland Thorns FC to Audi Field on Saturday night in the first women’s soccer game played at the new soccer specific stadium in Washington, D.C.
Kickoff for the NWSL Game of the Week is set for 8 p.m. ET with a live national TV broadcast on ESPNEWS.
Saturday’s match at Audi Field will be the first women’s professional soccer game played in downtown Washington, D.C. since 2010 when the Washington Freedom last appeared at RFK Stadium. It will be the third and final meeting of the season between the Spirit and Thorns FC, following a 1-1 draw in Portland on April 20 and a 1-0 Thorns victory on May 19 at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
“We are all thrilled to have an opportunity to play at Audi Field,” said Spirit interim head coach Tom Torres. “We look forward to building on our last performance and are excited to play a historic match in front of the Squadron and district fans in the newest MLS stadium.”
Washington will look to snap a six-game scoreless streak behind a youthful attacking unit highlighted by U.S. national team rising stars Mallory Pugh and Rose Lavelle, along with fellow U.S. prospect and 2017 NWSL Rookie of the Year winner Ashley Hatch, who leads the club with four goals on the season.
Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe leads the NWSL with 99 saves on the season, and has combined with the back line to earn four clean sheets. Center back and captain Estelle Johnson has racked up a team-high 119 defensive clearances in 2018, anchoring a defensive unit which has limited the high-powered Portland attack to one goal in each of their first two matchups.
The Spirit will have the task of slowing down a strong Thorns FC attack which ranks second in the NWSL with 36 goals scored. U.S. international Lindsey Horan is the team’s leading scorer with 11 goals, followed closely by Canadian national team standout Christine Sinclair with nine.
Currently slotted third in the NWSL table, Portland clinched a playoff berth by defeating Sky Blue FC 2-1 on Wednesday night.
The Spirit will conclude the 2018 NWSL regular season back at the Maryland SoccerPlex against Sky Blue FC on September 1 at 7 p.m. ET.