Spirit face first place Sky Blue FC on road Saturday

Washington Spirit  |   July 5, 2013
Spirit face first place Sky Blue FC on road Saturday Featured Image

Boyds, Md. (July 5, 2013) – Following a one-game home stand which saw the Washington Spirit snap its five-match scoreless streak and draw FC Kansas City 1-1, the team will be back on the road Saturday night for a 7 p.m. clash with Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field in Piscataway, N.J.

Washington (1-7-4) received a late equalizer from Diana Matheson on Wednesday night at the Maryland SoccerPlex after Tiffany McCarty was fouled on edge of the box by Kansas City defender Becky Sauerbrunn, and the Spirit were awarded a penalty kick. Matheson, who was playing in her first match since missing the last three due to Canada Women’s National Team duties and a minor ankle injury, took the PK and chipped the ball over the head of FCKC keeper Nicole Barnhart.The Spirit had trailed 1-0 since the 55th minute when Erika Tymrak netted her fourth goal of the season on an assist from Merritt Mathias.

The Spirit will have a quick turnaround from Wednesday to Saturday when they go from facing the NWSL’s third place team to league-leading Sky Blue FC (8-3-3) on the road.

The match will be the second of four regular season meetings between the sides, with Sky Blue leading the series so far thanks to a 2-1 win at the Maryland SoccerPlex on April 27. Defender Coco Goodson struck on a header from a corner kick by Danesha Adams less than two minutes into the contest, and Lisa De Vanna set up Sophie Schmidt for the game-winner in the 48th minute. Matheson scored Washington’s lone goal, a 35th minute equalizer on an assist from Captain Lori Lindsey.

Sky Blue enters Saturday’s match coming off its first loss in four matches, a 3-2 setback in Boston against the Breakers. Boston put up three first half goals which would prove insurmountable, while Sky Blue received scores from Schmidt and Monica Ocampo. Schmidt, who leads the team with six goals, was red-carded in stoppage time for unsportsmanlike conduct and will serve a one-game suspension Saturday night.

Saturday will be the sixth road contest in eight matches for Washington, a stretch in which the Spirit have gone 0-5-1. The five-game losing streak gave way to a coaching change, as the team parted ways with head coach Mike Jorden and promoted Spirit Reserves coach Mark Parsons to the pro job. Parsons, a youth director in Culpeper County and former Chelsea Ladies coach in England, will be in search of his first pro coaching win Saturday after leading the Spirit to a draw against Kansas City.

Top-notch goalkeeping will be one of the main storylines to follow as the Spirit meet Sky Blue FC for the second time. Ashlyn Harris‘ 48 saves in 10 starts is good for fourth in the league, while Sky Blue’s Brittany Cameron leads NWSL in minutes in goal (1,259) and saves (52).

Lindsey has played every minute so far this season for the Spirit in the midfield, and will look to continue her “Ironwoman” streak this weekend. The 33-year-old captain is the only player to have started all 12 of the team’s games, and is tied with Matheson for the team lead with two assists.

The team’s newest acquisition, forward Lindsay Taylor, arrived in a trade from Seattle on Monday and did not appear in Wednesday’s match against Kansas City.

Saturday’s Spirit-Sky Blue match will be live streamed via the NWSL YouTube Channel. Play-by-play updates can also be found on the Washington Spirit Twitter feed, @WashSpirit.

The Spirit return home on Wednesday, July 10 for a match against Chicago Red Stars, the first ever meeting between the sides. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m. ET at the Maryland SoccerPlex’s Maureen Hendricks Field. Tickets are available at https://tickets.washingtonspirit.com.

Full Match Notes for Saturday’s match can be found in the Washingtonspirit.com Media Resources Folder.

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