June 27, 2013 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - Washington Spirit
Boyd, Md. (June 27, 2013) - The Washington Spirit will complete their two-game road trip Friday night in Rochester, N.Y. when they face the Western New York Flash for the third of four match-ups this season.
The Spirit have drawn one and lost one to the Flash so far, most recently dropping a 2-0 contest at the Maryland SoccerPlex on June 15. Vicki DiMartino and Veronica Perez were the goal-scorers for Western New York in that match, both finding the net in the first half. D.C.'s defense came alive in the second half, not allowing a single shot on goal, but the offense was unable to find payout despite controlling the tempo most of the period.
Last Sunday in the Spirit's most recent match, Washington fell 2-0 at the hands of FC Kansas City in the teams' inaugural match-up. German international star Conny Pohlers made her NWSL debut in the game, playing 69 minutes and recording one shot on goal.
Goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris earned a Player of the Week nomination for her performance in net against Kansas City, a season-high eight save effort. Harris stymied a number of one-on-one situations in-close, and made several more acrobatic saves to keep the game in reach for D.C. She allowed two Lauren Cheney goals, one of which was a potential goal of the year candidate from 30 yards out, and the other a tap-in as a result of blown coverage. Harris' 37 saves are tied for fourth in the league with Kansas City's Nicole Barnhart, a teammate of her's on the U.S. Women's National Team.
Washington will look to get its offense back on track Friday night, having lost four straight matches without a goal. The team will once again be without leading scorer Diana Matheson, who is still recovering from an ankle injury. Matheson's four goals are tied for eighth in the NWSL.
In Matheson's absence, the Spirit will look for a spark offensively from Pohlers, Tiffany McCarty (2 goals), Lori Lindsey (1 goal, 2 assists), Tori Huster (1 goal) and Ali Krieger, who has one goal on the season from the back line.
The Flash have firmly established themselves in the top half of the league, their 5-2-4 record and 19 points good for fourth place and seven points ahead of fifth place Boston. They are riding an impressive eight-game unbeaten streak dating back to May 1. In that span they are 5-0-3 with 16 goals scored and just eight given up.
In their most recent outing, the Flash drew last place Seattle Reign FC 1-1 at home last Sunday afternoon. Western New York trailed until the 55th minute when Abby Wambach converted an equalizing penalty kick to avoid what would have been a substantial upset.
Containing Wambach will be a key to the match for the Spirit as they seek their second win of the season. The all-time leading international scorer is unsurprisingly leading the NWSL in goals with seven in just eight matches played.
Friday night will be the first of two meetings between Washington and Western New York at Sahlen's Stadium, with the regular season series coming to a conclusion on July 31. The Spirit and Flash kick off Friday at 7:05 p.m. ET, with a live stream available.
The Spirit return home on Wednesday, July 3 when they host FC Kansas City at the Maryland SoccerPlex at 7:30 p.m. ET. Tickets are available at: https://tickets.washingtonspirit.com.