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Boyds, Md. (6/26/20) – The Washington Spirit will begin the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup against the Chicago Red Stars on June 27 at 10 pm ET at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, UT.
During the 2019 season, the Spirit had mixed results against the Red Stars with two losses and one win. The Red Stars finished the 2019 NWSL season with 44 points, 10 above the Spirit’s total of 34.
The Red Stars had a strong 2019 season, coming up in second place. After winning their last five games, they finished just five points away from the league’s leaders, the North Carolina Courage. The Red Stars reached their fifth consecutive NWSL playoffs and first NWSL Championship, where they fell short against the Courage, losing 4-0.
Like many teams, the Red Stars faced changes to their roster, with the biggest one being losing the league’s top scorer, Sam Kerr. Nevertheless, they also gained two experienced attacking players, Rachel Hill and Kealia Watt.
In addition, they still have a strong roster with the U.S. Women’s National Team goalkeeper, Alyssa Naeher, team captain and U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year, Julie Ertz, and the team’s leader with assists, Yuki Nagasato.
The Spirit, who fell short of the playoffs by four points, were able to have a more successful second half of the 2019 season and finished strong, losing just once in their final eight games, winning three and drawing four.
Like their previous season, Washington continues to be the youngest team of the league, having seven new rookies and four newcomers from teams abroad, all making their NWSL debuts. These 11 players will impact the Spirit’s game dynamic in the tournament.
In addition, the Spirit will also rely on experience to dictate the game. That experience will come from Aubrey Bledsoe, 2019 NWSL Goalkeeper of the Year, veteran Tori Huster in combination with Sam Staab, who played every minute last season, on the defense. Captain Andi Sullivan and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Bronze Ball winner, Rose Lavelle will anchor the midfield, and last year’s top scorer for the team, Ashley Hatch will once again look to dominate on the frontline.