Washington Spirit (1-10-4, 7pts.) vs Chicago Red Stars (5-6-4, 19pts.)
Saturday, 7pm ET
Benedictine University Sports Complex, Lisle, Ill
It’s true that the Washington Spirit were never a strong contender to make the NWSL playoffs, but a road loss to the Chicago Red Stars this Saturday would make them the first team to be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs.
The stats are seemingly stacked against them as they head to Benedictine Sports Complex on the back of a 2-0 loss to the Red Stars two weeks ago and having given up 17 road goals this season.
But positive momentum swings from the offensive side of the ball as the Spirit last week were able to fire off 11 shots (their second highest on the season) and midfielder Diana Matheson converted a PK against the Seattle Reign.
It will take more then just a handful of shots if they hope to beat a surging Chicago Red Stars. Despite giving up 3 goals to FC Kansas City last week, the Red Stars showed determination and perseverance to come back and score 2 late goals in the last six minutes to draw level with the Blues.
What To Expect:
The Washington back line needs to be prepared for the Red Star’s dynamic offense. Chicago has a balanced attack of flank play with Michelle Wienio and Adrianna Leon working on the outside, while Lori Chalpuny provides through the middle of the pitch. Washington’s back line and midfield will need to close the gaps and allow the Red Stars few quality chances on goal.
Washington showed in last week’s game against Seattle that with some confidence they can be a team that controls the tempo and pace of a game. They need to retain possession and refrain from conceding early.
On the NWSL tables, the Red Stars are five points from a playoff spot. With a win for the Spirit and loss by both the Boston Breakers and Western New York Flash when the two teams play Sunday, Chicago could climb within two points of a the last playoff spot in a tight race.
Washington is also hoping for a Flash loss. If the Spirit do lose Saturday evening and the Flash go on to win Sunday the Spirit will be eliminated from any chance at a playoff appearance.
In the Red Star’s previous game against FC Kansas City, Taryn Hemmings was injured late in the game. It was announced Friday that Hemmings tore her left ACL and MCL and will miss the rest of the season.