Washington Spirit (1-8-4, 7pts) vs Chicago Red Stars (4-6-3, 15pts)
Wednesday, 7:30 pm ET
Maryland Soccerplex/ Boyds, MD
Fourteen weeks into the NWSL season and the Chicago Red Stars are meeting the Washington Spirit for the first time. The playoff races are under way and with each game it becomes more vital to secure three points. While no team is statically out of the playoffs, a loss at Maryland Soccerplex could set the pace for the last month and a half of NWSL play.
The Spirit have been slowly building in their last two games under new coach Mark Parsons. In the second home game with Parson’s at the helm, the Spirit could take advantage of Chicago’s inconsistent play but they will need to find some type of offensive pressure if they hope to break through Chicago’s back line. A back line that held Abby Wambach and company to one shot on goal in their last game, a 1-0 win over the Flash.
Chicago’s backline will have to contain Washington’s leading scorer, Canadian Diana Matheson and their most recent acquisition forward Lindsey Taylor.
Washington’s own back line provided solid protection for keeper Ashlyn Harris allowing four shots on target with one goal given up in a loss to Sky Blue FC last Saturday.
Offensively Chicago isn’t much stronger then the Spirit with 14 goals total on the year (Washington with 10) making these two teams evenly matched for this battle.
Chicago watched the Breakers pull away in NWSL standing, now four points behind Boston. A win on the road will pull them right back behind their old rivals. Further down on the NWSL table, Washington sits in last place behind a surging Seattle Reign. For the Spirit the focus should be on digging themselves out of the bottom and securing a second season win.
Score Prediction: 1-0 Red Stars win with the goal from Lori Chalupny