By Owen Krucoff
Boyds, Md., (7/18/19) – With a bye week in the rearview mirror, the Washington Spirit are set to resume the season on Saturday as the Houston Dash make their second visit of the season to the Maryland SoccerPlex. [TICKETS]
U.S. Women’s National Team star Mallory Pugh is expected to make her return to the Spirit lineup after helping secure the Women’s World Cup title earlier this month, and each of the Spirit’s six World Cup players, including Bronze Ball winner Rose Lavelle, will be celebrated at the game and will sign autographs with fans.
Here are some key stats to keep an eye on as the Spirit look to keep pace in the NWSL playoff picture.
7 – Meetings since the last time Houston scored multiple goals at the Plex
The Spirit have enjoyed some success over the years in home games against Houston, especially on the defensive side. The Dash have not scored more than one goal in a game at the Spirit since May 26, 2014, when Washington earned a 3-2 victory. Houston has scored just three goals in seven trips to the Maryland SoccerPlex since then.
2 – World Cup goals scored by Mallory Pugh
Pugh may still be just 21 years old, but she has been one of the brightest young stars in the United States for a long time. She reaffirmed that status last month in France, scoring two goals on soccer’s biggest stage as the U.S. claimed its fourth world title.
Now Pugh brings her talents back to the NWSL, where she has scored eight goals for the Spirit since joining the team in 2017.
5 – Clean sheets recorded by the Spirit, 2nd in NWSL
The Spirit have had one of the best defenses in the league this season, ranking second in both clean sheets and goals conceded (11). They have already shut out Houston once this year, holding the Dash to a 0-0 draw at the SoccerPlex on June 22.
18 – Offside calls against the Spirit, fewest in NWSL
Washington’s forwards have been adept at timing their runs this season, getting caught offside less often than any other team. Houston, on the other hand, has been caught offside 43 times, the league’s highest total.
49 – Saves by Aubrey Bledsoe, most in the league
Saturday’s game will feature two of the NWSL’s top shot-stoppers. Washington’s Aubrey Bledsoe leads the way with 49 saves, while Houston’s Jane Campbell is third with 33. The pair are also both among a group of six keepers in the league who have racked up at least three clean sheets on the year.
Kickoff against the Dash is set for 7:00 p.m. ET with Gate D & the Fan Zone opening at 5:30 p.m. ET for all ticket-holding fans.
Due to expected high temperatures, fans are welcome to bring their own bottled water to the game, and free refill stations will be available around the stadium. [TICKETS]