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Boyds, MD (May 11, 2018) – The Washington Spirit will finish off a two-game road stint on Saturday evening against the first place North Carolina Courage.
Kickoff from Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park is set for 7 p.m. ET with a live stream available on go90, as well as the NWSL website and mobile app. [WATCH]
Washington will aim for its first road win of 2018 against a Courage team which enters the weekend unbeaten through seven regular season games.
“It’s a huge challenge for us athletically, North Carolina is a very good team and they’ve gotten good results so far,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “But I think it’s something that we match-up well against. It’s just a matter of us combining and playing well as a group.”
The Spirit attack was shut out for the first time this season last Saturday on the road against Utah Royals FC, falling 2-0 to the NWSL newcomers. The loss ended Washington’s two-game unbeaten streak and five-game scoring streak.
Washington’s offense, led by U.S. international Mallory Pugh (2 goals, 1 assist) and Nigerian international Francisca Ordega (3 goals), will look to bounce back in their second meeting of the season with the Courage. Pugh and Ordega each found the net during Washington’s first of three regular season games against North Carolina, a 4-2 defeat on April 14 at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
The Spirit are one of only two teams to score against the Courage defense through their first seven games. Courage goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo has been forced to make only seven saves on the season, while recording five clean sheets behind the club’s strong back line.
Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe leads the NWSL with 32 saves entering Week 7, and was one of four Washington players named to the NWSL Team of the Month for April. Team captain and center back Estelle Johnson also earned a spot on the NWSL Team of the Month, along with Pugh and Ordega, in part due to her league-leading 45 clearances.
Saturday’s match will feature clashes of both sides’ strengths, as well as familiar faces. An offseason trade between Washington and North Carolina saw the exchange of three U.S. internationals, as 2017 NWSL Rookie of the Year Ashley Hatch and defender Taylor Smith joined the Spirit in exchange for winger Crystal Dunn.
Hatch and Dunn have racked up 17 and 16 shots respectively so far this season with their new teams, which ranks third and fifth in the league. Dunn and Courage midfielder McCall Zerboni are tied with Ordega for second in the NWSL with three goals each.
The Spirit will return to the Maryland Soccer for their next home game on Saturday, May 19 against Portland Thorns FC. [TICKETS]