Boyds, MD., (8/2/2019) – The Washington Spirit travel to Cary, North Carolina to face the North Carolina Courage in a match that may carry future playoff implications tonight at Sahlen’s Stadium.
The Courage are currently 2nd in the NWSL standings. Since June 1 the Courage have been the best team in the NWSL. They have earned 16 points, the most in the league, and only lost one match. Most recently, the Courage defeated the Utah Royals 2-1 on the road.
A storyline to watch today will be the absence of USWNT members for both sides due to the 2019 USWNT Victory Tour.
The Courage will be missing four players in defender Abby Dahlkemper, midfielder Sam Mewis, and forwards Crystal Dunn and Jessica McDonald. The four players North Carolina are missing for international duty is tied for the most in the league.
The Courage have been chiefly powered by two players while their World Cup players were on international duty. The first is attacker Kristen Hamilton. Hamilton has already more than doubled her career goal total during this season as she is currently second in the NWSL in goals scored with eight.
The other star of the Courage has been Lynn Williams. Williams has scored six goals this season, good for third in the league. The 2018 NWSL MVP finalist also is tied for the league lead in assists with four.
Last week, the Spirit earned a 1-0 victory over Sky Blue FC away from home. The Spirit dominated the match, holding a sizable lead in nearly every statistical category including holding possession, holding the ball for 63.7% of the game.
The win ended a five-game winless streak and put the Spirit back in the top four after a one-week hiatus. The Spirit will be missing midfielder Rose Lavelle and forward Mallory Pugh due to the Victory Tour.
This match represents a pivotal chance for the Spirit to solidify their postseason place. A win today would ensure that Washington remains in the top four for another week. The right set of results across the league, combined with a victory, could push the Spirit into third place. A loss could push the Spirit back out of the top four.
Kickoff from Shalen’s Stadium in Cary, North Carolina is set for 7:00 p.m. ET on Friday. Spirit fans can watch the game on NBC Sports Washington or stream the game on both the Monumental Network and Yahoo Sports.