Boyds, Md. (5/16/19) – The Washington Spirit will host Portland Thorns FC on Saturday evening at 7 p.m. ET at the Maryland SoccerPlex in the first matchup of the season between the two teams.
Saturday will be the Spirit’s first-ever Armed Forces Night at the SoccerPlex. The Spirit will honor all veteran and active duty service members at halftime.
Both teams are coming off of winning results last weekend, as the Spirit defeated Sky Blue FC 3-2 in at Yurcak Field in New Jersey, and the Thorns topped the Orlando Pride 3-1 away from home at Orlando City Stadium. The Spirit are in sixth place in the NWSL with a 2-1-1 record and seven points, while the Thorns are in fifth at 2-0-2 and eight points.
This weekend represents a big chance for the Spirit to make a move in the NWSL standings. With a win and the right combination of results elsewhere, Washington could leap up as high as second place in the table, their highest ranking since 2016.
The Spirit have only allowed three goals through their first four games behind the work of goalkeeper Audrey Bledsoe between the posts. The NWSL record-holding shot-stopper is currently third in the league with 16 saves to her name, and a Goals Allowed Average of just 0.75, fourth best in the NWSL.
Both teams will be without a few contributors who are currently with the U.S. Women’s National Team in preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Forward Mallory Pugh and midfielder Rose Lavelle will be the absences for the Spirit, while Portland will be missing goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, midfielders Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan, defender Emily Sonnett and forward Christine Sinclair.
The Spirit’s tough defense will meet one of the NWSL’s top offenses in Portland as the Thorns have scored 11 total goals through four games. The Thorns will be missing one of the league’s most efficient scorers in Christine Sinclair, who is tied for second most goals in the league (3) and averages a goal every 90 minutes. In addition, the Thorns will miss the offensive contributions of Heath in their midfield, as she has found the back of the net twice thus far.
Gate D and the Fan Zone at the SoccerPlex will open at 5:30 p.m., with Gate A opening at 6 p.m. for all ticket-holding fans. The game will also be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports Network.