By Owen Krucoff
Boyds, Md., (5/23/19) – Coming off of back-to-back wins, the Washington Spirit take aim at the league-leading Chicago Red Stars this Sunday at 6 p.m. EDT at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois. Fans can catch the match on NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports Network.
Here are a few notable statistics heading into the Spirit’s third away game of the season. This will be the first meeting of the year between Washington and Chicago.
3 – Wins for the Spirit so far this season
With last week’s 3-1 win over Portland Thorns FC, the Spirit surpassed last year’s win total just five games into the new season. Washington will ride a three-game unbeaten streak into Chicago, where the Red Stars also possess three victories on the year with one more game played than the Spirit.
19 – Saves by Aubrey Bledsoe, tied for 1st in the NWSL
Goalkeeper Audrey Bledsoe has gotten off to a dominant start in 2019, racking up a saves total that equals Sky Blue FC’s Kailen Sheridan. Bledsoe is also alone atop the league in save percentage with a mark of 83%. After recording her second clean sheet of the season against Reign FC on May 4, she earned the NWSL’s Save of the Week and Player of the Week honors.
352 – Passes by Paige Nielsen, 1st in the NWSL
Defender Paige Nielsen has been the top distributor in the league in the early part of this season, attempting nine more passes then the next-most prolific player, Reign FC’s Lauren Barnes. As a team, the Spirit are second in the NWSL in passes (2,467) and passing accuracy (79.9%).
75 – Percent of Spirit goals that have been scored in the second half
The Spirit have established themselves as a dangerous team late in games this season, with six of their eight goals thus far being scored in the second 45 minutes. That percentage ties the North Carolina Courage for the highest in the league. The first 15 minutes after halftime have been particularly effective for the Spirit attack, which has scored three of its goals in that time frame.
64 – Duels by Ashley Hatch
Forward Ashley Hatch has engaged in the most duels of any Spirit player this season, winning a team-high seven fouls in the process. It wouldn’t be surprising this weekend to see her tangle with Chicago’s Yuki Nagasato, who has taken part in 66 duels and won eight fouls of her own.