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Get to know Washington Spirit, coming to Rio Tinto Stadium near you

The Washington Spirit come to Utah next to face the Royals on Saturday.

Washington Spirit
Nikita Taparia

The Washington Spirit is a young and talented squad. Players include Mallory Pugh, Rose Lavelle (sidelined with an injury, though), Ashley Hatch (BYU grad), Andi Sullivan, Francisca Ordega, Taylor Smith, Caprice Dydasco, to name a few. Here’s all you need to know about Washington.

Record: 1-2-2 (W-L-T), 5 points, 5th place

Head coach: Jim Gabarra, 3rd season

Home stadium: Maryland Soccerplex

2018 season thus far

One win, two losses, and two draws have made up the Washington Spirit’s season. The 2018 season began with consecutive losses: a 2-1 loss versus Seattle Reign and a 4-2 defeat by the North Carolina Courage. Washington would rebound, however, winning 2-0 against the Orlando Pride and recording draws against Portland Thorns FC and the Chicago Red Stars. The Spirit come to Utah on a three-game unbeaten streak.

Players to Watch

Mallory Pugh - U.S. Soccer fans are familiar with Pugh’s abilities. She’s quick with the ball and can score goals. This season, Pugh has scored two goals, recorded one assist, and created nine opportunities.

Francisca Ordega - Ordega has excelled this season so far, scoring a goal in three straight games. She is currently in a four-way league tie for second place in scoring with three goals.

Estelle Johnson - Offensively, Johnson can provide some good passes from the back to start the attack. Defensively, Johnson is third in the league in blocks with five and leads the league in clearances with 40.

Washington Spirit Overall

Washington come to Utah after earning back-to-back draws against Portland and Chicago, like Utah has done in their previous two games against North Carolina and Portland as well. Their offense will be one that the Royals backline will need to contain, especially Mallory Pugh and Francisca Ordega, both were recently selected to the NWSL Best XI for April. Defensively, Washington has goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, who leads the NWSL with saves (29), and defender Estelle Johnson who is the Spirit’s best defensive player. Bledsoe and Johnson were also named to the Team of the Month for April.

Though the Spirit’s offense is one that keeps defenses alert, the Washington backline has allowed 81 shots, 13 of those on target. The Spirit defense has also conceded eight goals, one of the highest in the league.

Injury Report

OUT:
Rose Lavelle (left hamstring strain),
Cheyna Matthews (pregnancy),
Arielle Ship (right ACL recovery – D45