How every new player has contributed to the Spirit’s resurgent season

Washington Spirit  |   July 3, 2019
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Boyds, MD – Saturday, June 29, 2019: The North Carolina Courage defeated the Washington Spirit 2-1 at Maureen Hendricks Field, Maryland SoccerPlex.

Owen Krucoff and Jordan Viener

Boyds, Md., (7/3/19) – The Washington Spirit’s impressive turnaround on the field this season has been spurred by a wealth of new arrivals to the squad.Along with a new coaching staff led by Richie Burke, a total of 14 new players have joined the fold and been a big part of the team’s push into the NWSL’s top four. 

From regular starters to bench contributors, every new face has had something to offer the team this year.

Chloe Logarzo

Midfielder Chloe Logarzo has been a strong addition to the Spirit since joining the team via loan from Sydney FC. Since coming across the Pacific, Logarzo has started all four games she has played in for the Spirit, including the most recent match against North Carolina. Logarzo shares the lead in tackle percentage for midfielders with 75% and has become known for her aggressive play on the field.  

Logarzo also represented her native Australia in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She earned four starts over the course of the tournament amd tallied a goal and an assist while earning Player of the Match against Brazil during the group stages.

Amy Harrison

Amy Harrison was signed alongside Sydney FC teammate Chloe Logarzo in February 2019. In just six games, Harrison’s versatility has proven to be one of her greatest strengths. Harrison can play both the midfield and the backline, giving the Spirit options every time she steps on the pitch. Despite reduced playing time due to World Cup duty, Harrison is tied for the most assists on the Spirit with two and is tied for second on the club in tackle percentage with 75%.

Harrison represented Australia in France alongside Logarzo. Harrison achieved what she called her dream by playing the final minute of the Matildas World Cup run, calling it “…something I’ve dreamt of since I was a little girl.”

Sam Staab

Staab has slid seamlessly into her professional career since arriving as the fourth overall pick in this year’s NWSL Draft.

The young defender has played every minute of every match in her rookie season and earned a place in the league’s Team of the Month for May. Her contributions, including 12 interceptions, seven blocks and a 100% tackle success rate, have helped Washington’s back line become one of the league’s top defensive units, giving up just seven goals in the team’s first 10 games.

Jordan DiBiasi

DiBiasi has been one of the most notable rookie performers in the NWSL this season. The Stanford standout was selected with the third overall pick in this year’s draft and made a name for herself quickly with two goals in her first five professional games, including an olimpico against the Portland Thorns that won her the NWSL Goal of the Week Award. 

The 22-year old joined fellow rookie Sam Staab as one of two Spirit newcomers in the league’s Team of the Month for May.

Paige Nielsen

A native of Lincoln, Nebraska, Nielsen played in Australia, Cyprus and South Korea before returning to her home country to join the Spirit this season. 

Nielsen has started in nine of the team’s 10 games so far, and is capable of playing in the back line or up top as a forward. Her biggest highlight with Washington so far came on May 26, when she made a goal-line clearance against the Chicago Red Stars that earned her the NWSL’s Save of the Week Award, a rare honor for a non-goalkeeper.

Crystal Thomas

The 25-year-old Thomas is in her second stint with the Spirit, having first played for the club in 2017. After playing two seasons in Europe, she was brought back into the fold on May 23 and has made a quick impact at the forward position. 

Thomas scored her first goal of the season on June 29 against the North Carolina Courage and won the Spirit’s Player of the Match Award.

Carlin Hudson

Despite starting the season on the supplemental roster, midfielder Carlin Hudson has created a prominent role as an impact sub with the Spirit. She is second on the team in touches per minute with .96. Hudson also is second on the team in duel percentage and tied for third in tackle percentage.

Bayley Feist

Bayley Feist has quickly proven to be a value pick since being selected 17th overall in the 2019 NWSL College Draft. The midfielder has played in four games in her first season out of Wake Forest. 

Feist has broken out as of late. She earned her first career start two weeks ago against Houston and replaced Chloe Logarzo last week against North Carolina in the 67th minute for her longest stint off the bench to date. Feist also recorded her first career assist and had her second game in a row with a shot. 

Tegan McGrady

When defender Tegan McGrady has been healthy, she has been among the Spirit’s best defenders. The ninth overall pick of the 2019 NWSL draft has started in all four games she has played in. Despite picking up a nagging injury, McGrady still ranks third among defenders in minutes played and first among all players in duel percentage at 72.2%. 

McKenzie Berryhill

Defender McKenzie Berryhill has had a winding path to Washington. Berryhill signed with Norwegian club Klepp IL for the 2018 season. After a second place finish with Klepp she earned a roster spot with the Spirit for the 2019 season.

Berryhill was asked to step into the Spirit lineup in the absence of Paige Nielsen, and was a major part in securing a clean sheet against the Houston Dash. 

After playing only 16 total minutes up until two weeks ago, Berryhill made her first start of the season and played a full 90. Berryhill currently leads all defenders in passing accuracy percentage and tackle percentage. She also leads the team in touches per minute with 1.06. 

Tiffany McCarty

Like Crosson, McCarty joined the Spirit on a permanent basis this year after appearing late in 2018. But the 28-year-old forward actually has a rich history with the club dating back to the NWSL’s inaugural season in 2013. McCarty became the Spirit’s first ever draft pick when she was selected second overall out of Florida State, and she scored the first goal in team history in a 1-1 draw with the Boston Breakers on April 14, 2013. With stints at three different NWSL clubs, McCarty is one of the most experienced players in Washington’s squad this season.

Dorian Bailey

Midfielder Dorain Bailey is another member of the 2019 draft class already putting out high quality play. Bailey has played in all but one game so far this season and has started the last four. The ninth overall draft pick has carved out a role for herself on the roster as one of the most versatile and well rounded players on the team. 

Bailey is tied for the second most shots on target among midfielders. She also has the third highest tackle percentage on the team among players over 300 minutes logged.

Megan Crosson

After playing for the Spirit at the tail end of 2018 as a national team replacement player, Crosson signed a permanent contract with Washington in January and has appeared in six games, including two starts. The 25-year-old defender scored in the season-opening win over Sky Blue FC and has provided a spark off the bench when needed, most recently against the Houston Dash on June 22.

Shae Yanez and Sammy Jo Prudhomme

Yanez and Prudhomme were picked up by the Spirit this year and have added depth at the goalkeeper position. Prudhomme is in her third NWSL season after spending time with the Boston Breakers and Houston Dash, while Yanez is in her rookie year out of the University of Tennessee. Along with NWSL saves leader Aubrey Bledsoe, Yanez and Prudhomme are part of a resurgent Spirit defense which has held opponents to just seven goals in 10 games.

The Spirit return to action this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET against the Orlando Pride at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida. Fans can catch the match live on NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports Network.

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