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By Owen Krucoff
Boyds, Md., (7/5/19) – The Washington Spirit return to the field this Saturday with a road test at the Orlando Pride. After suffering their first loss in months at the hands of the North Carolina Courage last weekend, the Spirit are looking to kickstart another long unbeaten run at Exploria Stadium.
Here are some notable Spirit stats to keep an eye on in this weekend’s game.
The Spirit and Pride have played each other neck and neck since Orlando joined the NWSL in 2016. In eight all-time meetings, each side has three wins and has scored exactly 10 goals. If a winner emerges this Saturday, that team will earn bragging rights between the clubs along with the three points.
Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe has long been one of the NWSL’s best in net, and this stat is just the latest example. Bledsoe’s five-save haul against North Carolina last week was her 20th time reaching that mark since 2016, the most of any keeper in the league. And don’t forget that she still leads the league in saves (45) and save percentage (86.5%) this season.
If the Spirit can get over the line first on Saturday night, they should feel confident in their ability to earn a result. Washington has gone up 1-0 six times this season, resulting in five wins and one draw. Orlando, meanwhile, has gone on to lose all seven times they have conceded first this year.
Washington continues to lead the NWSL in a variety of passing statistics, including pass completion. The Spirit should hold an advantage over Orlando in the possession department in this game, as the Pride are just eighth in the league with 67.5% pass completion.
The Spirit defense has kept opponents out of the net in half of the team’s 10 games this season, more times than any other side except Utah Royals FC. Any attack can get a confidence boost when it has a rock-solid defense to back it up, and the Spirit are no different. Washington has gone on to score multiple goals in three of those five clean sheet games. Orlando has yet to record a single clean sheet this season.
Saturday’s kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Washington and Monumental Sports Network.