By Owen Krucoff
Boyds, Md., (5/21/19) – With three wins in the first five games of the season and an early spot in the top four of the NWSL standings, the Washington Spirit have hit the ground running in 2019. One of the driving forces behind the team’s fast start has been rookie midfielder Jordan DiBiasi, who has built an early case for the NWSL Rookie of the Year award with her contributions so far.
After an outstanding college career at Stanford, the Highlands Ranch, Colo., native was drafted by the Spirit with the third overall pick in this year’s NWSL Draft. She immediately became an integral part of the Washington lineup, becoming one of four outfield players to start and play every minute of all five games so far.
DiBiasi has been especially hot over the last two weeks, scoring her first two professional goals in back-to-back wins over Sky Blue FC and Portland Thorns FC. No other 2019 draft pick has already scored two goals this early in the season. Her goal against Portland, an Olimpico in the 71st minute that gave the Spirit a 3-1 lead, was nominated for NWSL Goal of the Week.
Set pieces have been an important part of DiBiasi’s role within the Spirit attack. She leads the team and is tied for fourth in the NWSL with 17 corner kicks delivered so far, including her Olimpico goal. Another one of her corner kicks against Portland resulted in a Spirit goal when it deflected into the net off Thorns midfielder Dagny Brynjarsdottir.
DiBiasi’s heat map against Portland was mostly concentrated on the left side of the field, where the Spirit spent 47% of their time when in the attacking third. She completed 33 passes, delivered a team-high seven crosses and was third on the team with 57 touches on the night, examples of her consistent involvement in Washington’s possessions.
DiBiasi’s touch-map against Portland shows that she contributed to Spirit possession in all parts of the field, collecting the ball across the entire pitch.
DiBiasi has also found ways to be effective without the ball. She led the Spirit by gaining possession seven times in the Portland match and added two tackles and one clearance as Washington held its opponent to one goal or fewer for the fourth time this season.
With more experienced players across the NWSL departing for national team duty ahead of the World Cup, and a critical stretch of games awaiting the Spirit over the next several weeks, DiBiasi will likely see many more impactful opportunities as her rookie season continues.
The Spirit will return to action this Sunday, May 26, when they visit the Chicago Red Stars at 6 p.m. ET.