CHICAGO — Fresh off a win that placed them at the top of the NWSL standings the Chicago Red Stars return home to take on the Washington Spirit on Sunday, May 26th at SeatGeek Stadium.
Here’s what you need to know about our upcoming opponent.
Washington bolstered their lineup with a handful of draft picks this offseason. The Spirit had four draft selection in the first round of the 2019 NWSL College Draft. Midfielder Jordan DiBiasi and defender Samantha Staab were taken with the 3rd and 4th overall selections before the team drafted defender Tegan MacGrady and Dorian Bailey with the 7th and 8th overall selections.
Washington also welcomed back forward Cheyna Matthews after she missed the 2018 season due to her pregnancy, who has been tasked with replacing the goalscoring productivity of the departed Francisca Ordega. The Nigerian forward left for Chinese Club Shanghai W.F.C. after scoring three goals for the Spirit last season, which was second-best on the team.
The Washington Spirit have scored six goals the past two games, with four of them coming from the duo of DiBiasi and Matthews. The latter scored two crucial goals for Washington in the 3-2 victory over Sky Blue FC, including what proved to be the winning goal in the 60th minute. DiBiasi scored the other goal for the Spirit in that game and followed that up with the NWSL Goal of the Week against Portland the following weekend.
After a convincing 3-1 win over the Thorns Saturday, Washington sits in fourth place with 10 points. They boast a record of 3-1-1, only dropping points away from home this season. Under new head coach Richie Burke, Washington has already beaten their win total in 2018 (2) and are one point away from their total points last season.
Chicago took the series against Washington in 2018 with two wins and a draw. In their first meeting at Maryland Soccerplex, Alyssa Mautz’s goal in the 20th minute earned Chicago a point. Both teams met two months later where Yuki Nagasato’s Player of the Week performance propelled the Red Stars to a 2-0 win. Nagasato would score again in the series finale in Chicago. Her diving header combined with Casey Short’s goal in the first half gave the hosts another 2-0 victory.
Fun Stat to Know
Washington goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe is the NWSL leader in saves with 19.