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Boyds, MD (July 14, 2017) – The Washington Spirit travels to face the Houston Dash on Saturday for the third and final meeting between the two sides this regular season. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET with a live stream available on the go90 mobile app and website.
Washington enters the game on a streak of earning points in four of its past five games, highlighted by shutout wins over Houston and Portland Thorns FC. Houston has posted a string of positive results as well, entering this weekend unbeaten in its past four games.
“We look forward to the challenge that Houston presents,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “Both teams have been improving and it’s a big opportunity for us to have a consistent road performance.”
The Spirit netted a late equalizer to salvage a point in its last game, a 2-2 draw against the Orlando Pride in the NWSL Lifetime Game of the Week. U.S. Women’s National Team forward Mallory Pugh became the youngest player in league history to record a brace, scoring in the 24th minute on a feed from Francisca Ordega and again in the 90th, converting a penalty kick earned by Kristie Mewis.
The Dash played Portland Thorns FC to a 1-1 draw in its most recent outing, as Canadian international Janine Beckie found the net in the eighth minute to spot her team an early lead. Portland drew even in stoppage time however, finally getting one past Houston’s talented rookie goalkeeper, Jane Campbell.
The Spirit and Dash have split their first two games this season, both played at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Houston won the opening match 1-0 on April 29, and the Spirit answered with a 2-0 victory on June 3 behind goals from Cheyna Williams and Pugh.
Washington’s defense has allowed only four goals, two in the run of play, in its past five games while recording two clean sheets. Goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé enters the game fourth in the NWSL in saves with 51, as she and defender Estelle Johnson have been voted onto the NWSL Team of the Month for two of the first three editions this season. Johnson is third in the league with 44 interceptions already in 2017.
On the attacking side, the Spirit will be without Ordega, who was placed on the 45-day disabled list this week with a knee injury. Ordega leads the team with four goals and three assists. However, the recent return of Argentine international Estefanía Banini has added depth to Washington’s attack. Banini was second on the team with 44 passes last week against Orlando, and her interception in the attacking zone led to Pugh’s first half goal.
Offseason acquisitions Havana Solaun (3 goals, 1 assist) and Mewis (2 goals, 1 assist) have also provided steady production in their first seasons with the team. Midfielder Tori Huster made a team-high 48 passes against Orlando.
Houston will be without two of their top offensive weapons, Kealia Ohai and Carli Lloyd. Ohai is out for the season with a torn ACL and Lloyd will miss Saturday’s game due to a red card she received against Portland last weekend.
Brazilian international Poliana and English international Rachel Daly have paced Houston’s attack for much of the season, finding the net three times each, tying for the team lead. Poliana, Ohai, Amber Brooks and Andressa are in a four-way tie for a team-high with two assists each.
This weekend’s trip to Houston marks the first of four consecutive road games for Washington. The Spirit will play next at home on August 12 against the Boston Breakers. [TICKETS]
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