Washington Spirit play their third game in a row at home tonight, taking on Angel City FC at Buzzard Point. The third-ranked Spirit won the first match-up between these two this season but haven’t won a game since, with just two draws to show from their current run of games at home.
Despite a run of poor performance that has them sitting in 11th place in the NWSL standings, Angel City is a talented team who showed earlier this season they have the speed and intensity to effectively press the Spirit and to stop their breakaway plays. Their game against the Spirit was a fairly even, physical match that led to to Andi Sullivan’s half-time “fit as hell” comment after an announcer asked whether the team could keep up the pace for another half.
In a pre-game press conference, Spirit coach Mark Parsons spoke about the importance of matching Angel City’s energy today:
This league is the highest energy league in the world, and you have to be up for the intensity and the battle. We really believe we’re at our best when we’re very intense and we have amazing energy, and energy’s going to be crucial [tonight]….
We know this is an opponent who absolutely is a bit desperate, and they’re not fun opponents to be playing. And we’re also desperate. We want to be able to put on a show in front of our home fans. And that starts with energy for us.
Key Player: Trinity Rodman
Trinity Rodman remains the Spirit’s most dangerous attacking piece. She led the team last week with 7 shots and scored the team’s only goal in the 3rd minute, but she’ll face a tough challenge this week. Angel City players Sarah Gorden and MA Vignola are two of the only defenders in the league who can match her speed.
Watch Out For: Alyssa Thompson, Sydney Leroux
This year’s number one draft pick, Alyssa Thompson, is a clear contender for rookie of the year, with 3 goals and 1 assist under her belt already.
Returning to play after nearly a year on the injury list, Sydney Leroux entered Angel City’s game against Chicago in the second half last week and scored in her first 14 minutes. Leroux is unlikely to play a full 90 minutes today but could provide a burst of attacking energy off the bench, which could be especially dangerous if the Spirit are beginning to tire in the second half.
Challenges: With 21 shots last week, Washington Spirit showed they can create chances, but they’ll need to convert more of those chances for a confident win.
Previously: In a game that could have Angel City out for revenge, Washington Spirit won 1-0 on May 13 with a late penalty kick after a handball call.
Washington Spirit Availability:
Out: Bayley Feist (D45 – lower leg); Anna Heilferty (SEI – knee); Tori Huster (SEI – lower leg)
Angel City FC Availability:
Out: Simone Charley (SEI – achilles); Jun Endo (knee); Merritt Mathias (knee); Christen Press (SEI – knee)
Location: Audi Field, Washington, DC
Kickoff time: 7 p.m. ET
Referee: Alyssa Nichols
Available streaming: Paramount+