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Cary, NC., (10/13/2021) – The Washington Spirit face the North Carolina Courage on Wednesday, October 13 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The match will be broadcast on Paramount+ for fans in the United States and international viewers.
The Washington Spirit are coming off one of its most convincing wins of the season after defeating Racing Louisville FC, 3-0. Seemingly peaking at the right time, the Spirit’s three points earned in Saturday’s game lift them into playoff position. With 30 points and a 8-7-6 record, the Spirit sit in the fifth spot on the NWSL table. As a reminder, the top six teams earn playoff eligibility with the top two teams earning first round byes.
While the Portland Thorns and OL Reign sit firmly in the top two positions, the third through eighth positions are separated by only four points. In third and fourth with 32 points sit the Houston Dash and today’s opponent, the North Carolina Courage, just two points removed from the Spirit. Below the Spirit, NY/NJ Gotham FC and the Chicago Red Stars are a point off, while the Orlando Pride are two points away from the Spirit in the eighth position. The table has been volatile all season long but with only three games remaining, shake ups on the table will have major implications.
A reason for optimism among Spirit fans heading into Wednesday’s match is the Spirit’s success against the Courage this season. While both games were played at home, the Spirit defeated the Courage once, 2-0, and most recently drew in a scoreless contest. Today’s match is being played after a postponement that came nearly two weeks ago.
With three games remaining on the schedule, the Spirit can ill afford to drop a game against an opponent in which they have seen much success.
Look out for an altered lineup in today’s match as it marks the third of four games in only ten days. Captain Andi Sullivan will be out of the lineup, and Coach Kris Ward is liable to make plentiful substitutions as he did in Saturday’s match against Louisville.
After a two goal performance, Ashley Hatch returned to the top of the Golden Boot race in the NWSL with nine goals. Worth noting is Trinity Rodman’s performance in Saturday’s match which set up two of the three goals scored in the contest. If the Spirit offense can keep the momentum while the Spirit backline remains impermeable, the Spirit are destined for success in the final stretch of the regular season.
North Carolina comes into today’s match desperately needing a win. The gap between the Courage (32 points) and seventh place on the NWSL table is only three points. In other words, a single game can knock the Courage out of playoff contention.
Furthermore, the Courage have lost three of its last four games. In those three losses, which came to the Dash, Gotham FC, and Thorns, the Courage were outscored, 8-2. Recently, the Courage have been struggling to score and have been hemorrhaging goals to its competition. Before this rough stretch of defeats, the Courage were easily the league’s best defensive team allowing the least amount of goals in the NWSL.
Despite a recent dry spell and previously failing to score in two matchups against the Spirit this season, the Courage still offer threats offensively.
Similar to the Spirit, the Courage have a three-headed monster at attack. Lynn Williams, Amy Rodriguez, and Jessica McDonald comprise a formidable attack. Together, the trio has accounted for 16 total goals this season – the Courage have scored 27 all season.
Look for today’s match to be highly competitive as the 2021 season heads into its final stretch.