Washington Spirit take on Racing Louisville this afternoon, in their second game of the season. After a tough match against OL Reign that involved both teams making a lot of long passes in the air and fighting for chances, the Spirit are hoping to show off a little more of their intended style of play, while taking home another win.
The Spirit are likely to start a similar 4-3-3 lineup to last week’s game. In a press conference yesterday, head coach Mark Parsons said his talks with the team this week focused on how to manage a game rather than alterations to tactics or style of play. Parsons reiterated that he wants the Spirit to be a team of principles, not a “game plan team.” All of this adds up to a team looking to build consistency, both in strategy and personnel.
This game is the home opener for Racing Louisville, who will also be hunting for their first win of the season after a scoreless draw against Houston Dash last week. Like the Spirit, they struggled to settle into their opening game, but the level of talent on their roster makes Racing Louisville a potentially dangerous opponent. With 17 shots, Racing showed a good deal of versatility on the attack (although they struggled to put the ball on frame), and goalkeeper Katie Lund is a strong shot-stopper who will limit the Spirit’s opportunities to score.
Both teams are likely to be impacted by pitch conditions created by storms in Louisville last night.
Key Player: Dorian Bailey
Bailey played all 90 minutes of last week’s game as a newly-minted right back, and the transition was seamless. Bailey was essential to Washington’s ball movement, leading the team in touches and completed passes, in addition to making tackles and even earning an assist on Trinity Rodman’s goal. Her ability to move the ball out of tight spaces and up the field to her teammates was one of her strongest qualities as a a midfielder and will hopefully serve her even better in her new position.
Watch Out For: Carson Pickett
A new addition to the Racing roster on a trade from North Carolina Courage, Pickett is a high-quality fullback and, if last week’s game is any indication, a centerpiece of Louisville’s attack. In that match, Pickett made 13 crosses into the box, had the highest number of completed passes on the team, and made 6 shot-creating actions, according to FBRef. Washington’s defense will have to work hard to prevent Pickett from finding an open attacker with one of her consistently accurate crosses.
Challenges: The Spirit are still trying to find their rhythm under Parsons’s system and have a high number of players new to either their positions or to professional soccer. They’ll need to improve the accuracy of their passes and create more chances to get another win this week.
Previously: Washington Spirit drew Racing Louisville in both games of the 2022 season with 1-1 and 2-2 results, a pattern both teams will be looking to break today. While the Spirit have a slight edge in the all-time record, they are 1-1-1 against Racing at Lynn Family Stadium.
Racing Louisville Availability:
Out: Emina Ekic (ankle); Thembi Kgetlana (ankle); Julia Lester (ankle); Nadia Nadim (knee)
Questionable: Jordan Bloomer (back); Jaelin Howell (leg)
Washington Spirit Availability:
Out: Anna Heilferty (SEI – knee); Tori Huster (SEI – lower leg)
Location: Lynn Family Stadium
Kickoff time: 3 p.m. ET
Referee: Sergii Demianchuk
Available TV: NBC Sports Washington
Available streaming: Paramount+