Boyds, Md. (9/13/2019) – After a three-week layoff since the momentous 2-1 victory over the Orlando Pride at Audi Field, the Washington Spirit are set to return to Southwest D.C. this Saturday for a matchup with Reign FC.
With Reign FC currently perched one spot above sixth-place Washington in the NWSL standings, this game is critical to both teams’ chances of reaching the NWSL playoffs. Fans are encouraged to pack Audi Field for what will be the Spirit’s final match in the District and second-to-last home game overall in 2019.
Hailing from Washington state, Reign FC are also coming off of a win over Orlando in their most recent game. Three goals in the first 20 minutes last Saturday led Reign to a 3-1 victory over the visiting Pride.
Three players are tied for Reign FC’s team lead in goals this season, although only two will be available this weekend. Midfielder Jessica Fishlock, who scored against the Spirit on June 16, is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL. Forward Darian Jenkins, who scored a brace last week against Orlando, and midfielder Bethany Balcer are the other two top scorers.
The Reign FC roster features two U.S. national team World Cup stars in Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long. Rapinoe, one of the leading faces of the USWNT’s title-winning run, won the Golden Ball award as the World Cup’s top player. She made a long-awaited return from injury against Orlando and will look to make her first road NWSL appearance of the season against the Spirit.
After an Aug. 31 match at Orlando was postponed due to the expected landfall of Hurricane Dorian, the Spirit have had plenty of time to prepare for this fixture since the 2-1 Audi Field victory on Aug. 24. The meeting against Reign FC will be the third and final contest of the season between the two teams.
Both of the first two matchups between the Spirit and Reign this year have been draws, including a 0-0 result at the Maryland SoccerPlex on May 4 and a 1-1 final on June 15 in Tacoma, Washington which saw Spirit midfielder Andi Sullivan score her first NWSL goal. Either team can earn a season series victory with a win Saturday at Audi Field.
Forward Ashley Hatch and midfielder Jordan DiBiasi have emerged as the top two goalscorers for the Spirit with five and four goals, respectively, this year. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe has made 64 saves this year, second-most in the NWSL.
Last month’s game at Audi Field shattered the Spirit attendance record with a crowd of 19,871, and there will plenty of reasons beyond the action on the field for fans to pack the stadium yet again this week.
The Spirit will be giving away 15,000 rally towels and 7,500 thundersticks at the gate before the game, and fans who stick around for the entire match could receive one of 5,000 reusable water bottles courtesy of GEICO.
A few lucky fans will even have the opportunity to win $100,000 in a halftime shooting competition sponsored by InRide.
Seats are still available for Saturday’s match, which kicks off at 7:30 p.m. Gate A will open at 5:30 p.m., with gates B and C following suit at 6 p.m. The game will also be televised on Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington.