Spirit Return to Audi Field in Pivotal Match Against Racing Louisville FC

Washington Spirit  |   October 9, 2021
Spirit Return to Audi Field in Pivotal Match Against Racing Louisville FC Featured Image

Luke Bennett

Washington, D.C. (10/09/2021) – The Washington Spirit face Racing Louisville FC on Saturday, October 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Audi Field. The match will be broadcast on Paramount+ for fans in the United States and on Twitch for international viewers.  

The Spirit

For the Washington Spirit, this match has significant ramifications on its playoff outlook. With only 27 points, the Spirit are a single point out of playoff contention. The Orlando Pride possess the sixth and final playoff position on the NWSL table with 26 points. 

More importantly, Saturday’s match is the first of the Spirit’s final four matches. These four matches will determine the fate of the Spirit’s season. The final four teams – Louisville, North Carolina, OL Reign, and Houston – have all been defeated by the Spirit this season. Saturday’s match will be the second-to-last home match. 

In its last matchup against Louisville, the Spirit won handily, 2-0. In that game, the Spirit were lifted by the clean sheet and strong performance of Aubrey Bledsoe as well as goals from Sam Staab and Ashley Hatch. 

This matchup, keep an eye out for the Spirit backline. Since the return of Kelley O’Hara and Emily Sonnett to the lineup, the Spirit have allowed only two goals. This group rarely makes mistakes and shuts down some of the most dangerous scoring threats in the league. 

Finally, pay special attention to the trio of Hatch, Trinity Rodman, and Ashley Sanchez. It has been a considerable time since a goal from one of these three. If these three heat up and find the back of the net in the coming games, the Spirit are more than likely to pick up crucial points on the way to a playoff bid. 

The Opposition

The stakes could not be more different for the two teams heading into Saturday’s match. Racing Louisville, sitting in ninth place in the NWSL, have been on the outside of the playoff picture for some time now. 

On Wednesday, Louisville faced off against the North Carolina Courage, losing 3-1. However, Racing Louisville’s problems have run much deeper. In its last ten matches, Louisville has failed to earn a single win. Its last victory came on August 8  — two months prior to Saturday’ game – against KC NWSL FC. 

Part of the reason for Louisville’s pitfalls this season is its lack of defensive fortitude. Allowing 34 goals in 20 matches, Louisville ranks last in the NWSL. The Louisville defense has tried many different lineups this season, finding limited success. Even Emily Fox, Louisville’s premiere defender, has been plugged in at midfield this season.  

A player to watch for is Savannah McCaskill, the former no. 2 overall pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft. The 25-year-old attacker anchors the Louisville attack and is one of the most active players in the NWSL. McCaskill scored in Wednesday’s match and was a pivotal player in Louisville’s first two meetings this season. 

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