Spirit Travel to Chicago in Search of Third Win of Season

Washington Spirit  |   June 19, 2021
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HOUSTON, TX – MAY 26: Sam Staab #3 of the Washington Spirit brings the ball up the field during a game between Washington Spirit and Houston Dash at BBVA Stadium on May 26, 2021 in Houston, Texas.

Ian Decker

Leesburg, VA., (06/19/2021) – The Washington Spirit face the Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, June 19 at 8:00 p.m. ET at SeatGeek Stadium. The match will be broadcast on Twitch for fans in the United States and international viewers. 

These two foes will meet for the first time since late September of 2020 when they faced off in the Fall Series. Contested at SeatGeek Stadium in Chicago, the sides played to a 1–1 draw. 

The Opposition
After being routed, 4–0, in the 2019 NWSL championship game by the North Carolina Courage, Chicago has had a turbulent year and a half. The Red Stars advanced to the final of the 2020 Challenge Cup but lost to the Houston Dash, 2–0. They went 1–1–2 in the Fall series and in 2021 failed to pick up a victory at the second-annual Challenge Cup. 

To begin the 2021 regular season, Rory Dames’ squad was blown out, 5–0, by the Portland Thorns but have since rallied for wins against Kansas City (2–0) and the Courage (1–0). Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher and defender Tierna Davidson, both of whom are training with the national team ahead of the Olympics, will be back for this weekend’s match but it remains to be seen if they will be available for selection this weekend. Despite that, Chicago still has a talented roster, with players like Casey Krueger, Morgan Gautrat, Mallory Pugh and Kealia Watt. Julie Ertz, who is recovering from an MCL injury, will miss this weekend’s match as she continues to rehab in preparation for Tokyo. 

The Spirit
Washington weathered an early rough patch to kick off the campaign, putting a tie with Orlando and a loss against Louisville behind them to pick up three points in Houston, TX and Takoma, WA, before playing to another draw with the Pride. The recent uptick in form has vaulted the Spirit into third place in the table and just three points off of first. Following four successive road matches, Washington got a quick respite at home against Orlando two weeks ago but now travel to SeatGeek Stadium.

Heading into the weekend, the Spirit will look for Ashley Hatch and Ashley Sanchez to continue their strong form over the past few weeks. Hatch is the only player on the active Spirit roster to score against the Red Stars in the past year. Head Coach Richie Burke might have to do some roster shuffling, as defenders Kelley O’Hara and Emily Sonnett, plus midfielders Andi Sullivan and Julia Roddar are returning from international duty. Unlike the other players who were away for international break and have since returned, Japanese international Saori Takarada will remain unavailable this weekend. 

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