Washington Spirit hosts Sky Blue FC at Maureen Hendricks Field on Saturday

Washington Spirit  |   May 4, 2017
Washington Spirit hosts Sky Blue FC at Maureen Hendricks Field on Saturday Featured Image

Washington Spirit (0-2-1, 1 pt) vs. Sky Blue FC (1-1-1, 4 pts)
2017 NWSL Regular Season
Maureen Hendricks Field – Boyds, Maryland
Saturday, May 6th – 7:00 p.m. ET

BOYDS, MD (May 4, 2017) – New Jersey side Sky Blue FC (1-1-1, 4 pts) will make its only visit to Maureen Hendricks Field for the 2017 NWSL regular season on Saturday evening, as the Washington Spirit (0-2-1, 1 pt) plays the second leg of a two-game homestand. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. ET. [Tickets]

Washington enters the match still seeking its first win of the season, after coming up just short in a 1-0 decision last Saturday at home against the Houston Dash. Canadian international goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé and the Spirit back line limited their opponent to one goal for a third straight week, helping land Labbé and defender Estelle Johnson on the NWSL Team of the Month for April. Labbé racked up 17 saves over the course of three matches in April, which is good for second in the league. Johnson’s eight tackles won are tied for the second-most in the NWSL.

Denmark international midfielder Line Sigvardsen Jensen’s first career NWSL goal in the Spirit’s 1-1 draw against the Orlando Pride on April 22 is the only score so far this season for the club. Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra’s squad enters Week 4 looking to get the offense on track.

“This should be a quality match against Sky Blue and a great opportunity to improve,” Gabarra said. “Sky Blue has a talented roster and we look forward to the challenge they present.”

Sky Blue FC opened the season with a 1-1 draw against Seattle Reign FC on April 15 and a 1-0 loss to the Boston Breakers on April 22. In the club’s home opener last Sunday, Sky Blue shutout FC Kansas City 1-0 for its first win of the season. Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan notched her first professional clean sheet and Costa Rica international Raquel Rodriguez netted the game-winner in the 82nd minute.

Much like Washington, Sky Blue has been one of the stronger defensive sides in the league through the first three weeks. Mandy Freeman and Christie Pearce have anchored the back line, tying for third in the NWSL with 19 clearances each, as Sky Blue has allowed just two goals.

Sky Blue is also third in the league in possession, controlling the ball for 52.1 percent of the time. Midfielder Sarah Killion leads the league in completed passes with 151, including a league-high 69 completed passes in the opponent’s half of the field. Rodriguez has been instrumental in the possession battle as well, winning 19 duels in the first three matches, good for third in the NWSL. Six of those duels were won in the air.

The Spirit matched up four times with Sky Blue FC in 2016, splitting the season series. After swapping 2-1 results with the away teams winning both of the first two meetings on April 24 and June 26, Sky Blue won 1-0 at home in the third game on July 24 and the Spirit won 3-1 at Maureen Hendricks Field in the fourth and final match-up on July 31.

Tickets for all Spirit home matches are available now at https://tickets.washingtonspirit.com

Washington Spirit vs Sky Blue FC | Top Facts Provided by Opta

  • After going winless in the first seven matchups (5L-2D), the Washington Spirit have won four of the last six meetings with Sky Blue (2L). Washington has scored multiple goals in three of the last six meetings and produced one clean sheet.
  • The Spirit has dropped their first two home games this season, and enters this weekend as the only team to not have scored a goal at home in 2017.
  • Sky Blue only has one win on the road in their last five away contests (3L-1D) dating back to last season. They have been outscored 8-5 over this stretch, which includes a 3-1 loss to the Spirit last July.
  • The Spirit’s Estelle Johnson is tied for second in the NWSL in tackles won with eight. Johnson is one of only three players to have won more than seven tackles this season.
  • Sam Kerr leads the league with five shots on target in away games this season. Only one other player has more than three.

Head-to-head stats:

Wins Wins GF GF
All-time 13 4 7 2 17 19 + 2 SBFC
At WAS 7 2 3 2 10 10 + 0
2016 4 2 2 0 6 5 + 1 WAS
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