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Photo: Brad Smith/ISI Photos
BOYDS, MD (July 1, 2016) – The Washington Spirit (5-2-2, 17 points) will take on two-time reigning NWSL champions FC Kansas City (2-4-4, 10 points) this Saturday, July 2, at 7 p.m. at Maureen Hendricks Field.
The Spirit, currently in fourth place (but having played one less game than all teams ahead of them), will look to rebound after a loss last week to Sky Blue FC. After going down early in the 8th minute and falling farther behind in the 64th, the Spirit got back within one in the form of a 77th minute Diana Matheson header but were unable to find a tying goal.
“Our match with FC Kansas City gives us the opportunity to rebound. It also is the beginning of the phase of the season when different players will have the chance to perform,” said general manager and head coach Jim Gabarra. “FC Kansas City are the defending champions so they present a top challenge.”
Goalkeeper Kelsey Wys should get the start in goal. Wys played 11 games for the Spirit in 2015 and recorded three shutouts. She has played one game so far this season against Boston, only allowing a penalty kick goal.
Players such as Caprice Dydasco, Whitney Church, or Estelle Johnson will look to feature in the backline this game. Dydasco started the first game of the season before Alyssa Kleiner grabbed hold of the left back starting spot. Johnson started all but two games for the Spirit in 2015 but has yet to see the pitch in 2016.
Forward Estefania Banini is proving to be a vital member of the offensive attack for the Spirit, scoring against the Orlando Pride and tallying an assist against Sky Blue. Midfielder Joanna Lohman is also thriving with three goals, second most of any Spirit player this season.
The Spirit has called up three amateur players for this match: goalkeeper DiDi Haracic, midfielder Alli Murphy, and forward Haley Rosen. All three players currently play for the Washington Spirit Reserves. Murphy was the Spirit’s 20th overall pick in the 2016 NWSL College Draft. Rosen and Haracic joined the Spirit in preseason camp.
Two time reigning NWSL champions, FC Kansas City, are in a building year, as two key players on their roster are out for the season due to pregnancy. The roster boasts 2-time Olympic gold medalist goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, as well as former Spirit players Yael Averbuch and Tiffany McCarty. After a slow start to the season, FCKC is currently on a four game unbeaten streak and will look to extend that streak against the Spirit.
The match will be live streamed on YouTube: https://youtu.be/y8eXaqqUPQM
Next weekend, the Spirit will play the Chicago Red Stars at home at 7 p.m. at Maureen Hendricks Field in the final game of a four game home stretch. Fans can be part of the NWSL soccer experience at perfectly manicured natural grass Maureen Hendricks Field by calling 301-337-8579 or visiting our website.