Spirit general manager and head coach Jim Gabarra heads home April 24 to face his former club Sky Blue FC (1-0-0) at 6 pm. Both teams won their season openers last week.
Washington’s (1-0-0) new high-powered attack never got off the ground in its 1-0 win over Boston last week. Things got off to a great start for the Spirit with Joanna Lohman scoring on a bicycle kick off a Crystal Dunn pass three minutes into the game. Spirits put another six shots on goal. Stephanie Labbe started in goal and earned the easiest shutout she may ever record. Washington’s defense allowed just one shot on goal.
Newcomers Tasha Kai (goal), Kelly Conheeney (goal) and Caroline Casey (7 saves) all made successful debuts with the New Jersey club in its 2-1 win at Seattle. Conheeney is out Sunday with the flu after scoring the game winner. Sky Blue peppered Hope Solo with six shots.
Being on the field, let alone scoring the winning goal, was a victory for the former Virginia Tech star. Conheeney hadn’t played a game since August 2012, the start of her senior season because of concussions.
Fans should keep an eye on the battle between SBFC’s Kelley O’Hara and Dunn. If Dunn beats O’Hara, or even plays her to a stalemate, the Spirit offense should give Casey a long day. Ali Krieger, Caprice Dydasco, Shelina Zadorsky and Megan Oyster should keep the Sky Blue’s damaged attack in check.
April 23, 2016
Chicago Red Stars vs. Western New York Flash 7:00 p.m. ET
Orlando Pride vs. Houston Dash 7:30 p.m. ET
FC Kansas City vs. Portland Thorns FC 8:30 p.m. ET
April 24, 2016
Sky Blue FC vs. Washington Spirit 6:00 p.m. ET
Boston Breakers vs. Seattle Reign FC 6:30 p.m. ET
An attendance record may fall April 23 in Orlando. Twenty-one thousand one hundred forty-four is the number to watch. The Pride will host its first home game and attempt to gain its first victory after falling 2-1 in Portland last week.
Alex Morgan played all 90 minutes in the first game with her new club and finished five shots (three on goal). Orlando out shot the Thorns 6-5 in shots on goal.
Pride goalkeeper and former Spirit Ashlyn Harris made three saves against Portland. Harris is now 0-2-2 against the Thorn in her career, having conceded eight goals in those four games.
The Dash comes into the contest riding high following a 3-1 home victory over the Chicago Red Stars in Week 1. Rookie forward Rachel Daly had a goal and an assist in her first professional match to help Houston earn all three points and was voted NWSL Player of the Week for her performance.