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Boyds, MD (August 11, 2017) – The Washington Spirit will play host to the Boston Breakers on Saturday afternoon in the NWSL Lifetime Game of the Week at the Maryland SoccerPlex. National TV coverage on Lifetime begins at 3:30 p.m. ET with kickoff set for 3:50. [TICKETS]
It will be the second of three meetings between the teams this season, and the first of two played on the Spirit’s home field. Boston came away with a 1-0 win in a defensive battle at Jordan Field on July 1 in the first match-up, as a 73rd minute goal by Margaret Purce assisted by Rosie White proved to be the difference.
Washington returns home for its first game at the SoccerPlex in over a month, having last played in front of its home fans on July 8 in a 2-2 draw against the Orlando Pride. Since then, the Spirit has played four straight road games, traveling to Houston, Portland, New Jersey and Orlando.
The Spirit opened the month of August with a dominant 4-1 road win over Sky Blue FC last Friday, before falling 3-0 to Orlando in a midweek contest on Tuesday. On Saturday, Washington will seek to extend its season-long home unbeaten streak to four games.
“We’re truly looking forward to getting back on our home field at the Maryland SoccerPlex in front of our Spirit Squadron and our great fans,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “We continue to improve and develop as individuals and a group, and we’re honored to have the opportunity to perform on Lifetime.”
Washington’s current three-game home unbeaten streak started on June 3 with a 2-0 clean sheet win over the Houston Dash, followed by another shutout effort in a 1-0 victory over Portland Thorns FC on June 24, and continued against the Orlando Pride with a thrilling 2-2 draw, highlighted by a 90th minute penalty kick equalizer by U.S. international Mallory Pugh.
Havana Solaun‘s five goals leads the Spirit attack this season, as the former Seattle Reign forward/midfielder climbed into the No. 5 spot in the league leaders with a penalty kick in the 87th minute of Washington’s win over Sky Blue last Friday. Solaun’s three assists is also tied with Nigerian international Francisca Ordega for a team-high.
Rookie forward Arielle Ship‘s one goal, two assist performance against Sky Blue FC earned her NWSL Player of the Week honors for Week 15. The University of California – Berkeley product also assisted fellow rookie Meggie Dougherty Howard‘s first pro goal in the victory, as the former University of Florida Gator became the third Spirit rookie to score this season. Pugh, the youngest player in the league at 19 years old, has scored three times in her first eight NWSL games.
Defensively, Washington has earned clean sheets in two of its past three home games. Canadian international goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé‘s 63 saves rank third in the NWSL, while her Olympic teammate Shelina Zadorsky has a team-high 67 clearances from her center back position. Two-time NWSL Team of the Month selection Estelle Johnson has also anchored the Spirit back line with a team-leading 55 interceptions, and is tied with Whitney Church with 15 blocked shots.
Three Boston players – Adriana Leon, Natasha Dowie and Rosie White – are tied for the team lead with three goals each. Leon is also tied for second in the NWSL with four assists on the season, while Dowie is second on the team with two assists. U.S. international Rose Lavelle, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NWSL College Draft, has scored two goals in first her eight pro games, but is expected to remain out due to a hamstring injury.
Defender Megan Oyster has 73 defensive clearances to lead Boston, along with 12 blocked shots. Midfielder Angela Salem is first among Breakers players with 52 interceptions.
Following Saturday’s home game, the Spirit will travel to North Carolina to face the Courage for another NWSL Lifetime Game of the Week.
Washington returns home to the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday, August 26 for a match-up with the Chicago Red Stars. [TICKETS]