Spirit head to Chicago for final matchup with Red Stars

Washington Spirit  |   September 20, 2019
Spirit head to Chicago for final matchup with Red Stars Featured Image

Boyds, MD – Saturday, August 10, 2019: The Chicago Red Stars defeated the Washington Spirit 1-0 during a NWSL match at Maryland SoccerPlex.

Owen Krucoff

Boyds, Md., (9/20/2019) – After another memorable game at Audi Field last weekend, the Washington Spirit are back in action this Saturday with a road matchup at the Chicago Red Stars. 

This will be the third and final meeting of the season between Washington and Chicago, with the away side having won each of the first two games.

The Opposition

The Red Stars are currently second in the NWSL with 38 points. Chicago has nearly clinched a playoff spot, and enter Saturday on a run of three straight clean-sheet victories in an eight-day stretch against Houston, Orlando and Sky Blue FC.

Chicago’s dangerous attack, which ranks third in the league with 36 goals, is led by Sam Kerr and Yuki Nagasato. Australian World Cup star Kerr leads the NWSL in goals (16) and shots on goal (49). Nagasato, the league’s assist leader with seven, also scored the lone goal in the Red Stars’ 1-0 win at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Aug. 10.

Chicago’s roster also boasts two American World Cup players in goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and midfielder Julie Ertz. Naeher has made 12 starts this season and has racked up nine saves in the team’s current three-game shutout streak. Ertz has one assist on the year and has played 90 minutes in seven straight Chicago games.

The Spirit

Washington enters the weekend off the back of two momentous nights at Audi Field in the District. 

After a 2-1 victory over the Orlando Pride in front of a sellout crowd of 19,871 on Aug. 24, the Spirit settled for a dramatic 2-2 draw against Reign FC this past Saturday with an audience of 17,418.

Ashley Hatch has had success against Chicago already this season. The forward scored the second goal in the Spirit’s 2-0 win at SeatGeek Stadium on May 26. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe also stood out in that road victory with a solid seven-save performance.

U.S. national team midfielder Rose Lavelle, who has been sidelined for one month due to injury, was cleared to resume training with the Spirit this week and may be set to make her first NWSL appearance since Aug. 18. Spirit and USWNT forward Mallory Pugh will look to make an impact this weekend as well after missing last month’s home matchup against the Red Stars.

Washington is currently sixth in the NWSL standings but will have a chance to break into the playoff places if it can continue to win games down the stretch. The Spirit still have five matches to play in the season’s final four weeks, more than any other team in the league.

Saturday’s kickoff is set for 8 p.m. ET at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Illinois. D.C. area fans can catch the game on Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington.

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