Spirit Head to Houston Looking for First Win of the Young Season

Washington Spirit  |   May 25, 2021
Spirit Head to Houston Looking for First Win of the Young Season Featured Image

LOUISVILLE FC, KY – MAY 21: Kelley O’Hara #5 of Washington Spirit takes a goal attempt during a game between Washington Spirit and Racing Louisville FC at Lynn Family Stadium on May 21, 2021 in Louisville FC, Kentucky.

Ian Decker

Leesburg, VA., (05/25/2021) – The Washington Spirit head to Houston, TX to face last year’s Challenge Cup champions on Wednesday, May 26 at 8:30 p.m. ET at BBVA Stadium. The match will be broadcast on Paramount+ in the U.S and Twitch for international viewers. The two sides last met in the 2020 Challenge Cup, with the Spirit emerging victorious, 1–0.

The Opposition
The Houston Dash began 2021 by finishing the Challenge Cup Presented by Secret with a 1–3–0 record. The champions of the inaugural event last summer defeated Kansas City, 3–1, but otherwise had trouble scoring — they played to 0–0 draws with Chicago and OL Reign and tied 1–1 with Portland. The Dash finished third in the West division with six points from four matches. 

The Dash opened their regular season with a 1–0 loss away to NJ/NY Gotham FC. They followed a disappointing defeat with a tie to KC (2–2). The Dash are led by USWNT returnee Kristie Mewis and English international Rachel Daly. Houston also relies on a trio of Canadian national teamers in Alysha Chapman, Nichelle Prince and Sophie Schmidt. The Dash player to keep an eye on is Shea Groom who is dangerous down the flanks. 

The Spirit
After finishing in fourth place in the East division at the Challenge Cup, picking up one win against Louisville, the Spirit were looking towards the regular season for a chance to put a slow start behind them. 

In the first two games of the regular season, Washington has drawn with Orlando, 1–1, and fallen to expansion franchise Racing Louisville, 2–0. While the results might not indicate strong play, the Spirit are unlucky to be saddled with a 0–1–1 record. They outshot and out-possessed Orlando but conceded in the 84’ minute. And against Racing, two late goals undid 10 shots on target and 61-percent possession. 

Playing their second of three games in 10 days, don’t be surprised if Head Coach Richie Burke once again looks to rotate players into the lineup, both in the starting lineup and off the bench. Defender Paige Nielsen remains on the injury report but otherwise, Burke will have a full lineup to choose from. 

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