Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars
Maryland SoccerPlex: Germantown, Maryland
8:00 pm EST
Fox Sports One
Referee: Danielle Chasky
NWSL Semifinal Preview: Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars
The Washington Spirit is playing in the semifinals with some injury bugs. Shelina Zadorsky and Estefina Banini are listed as probable for the match. The Spirit has reached the semifinals in three straight years yet failed to pass this stage.
Estefina’s goal scoring surge late this season has made her the hot player at the moment. The Spirit; however, are less dependent on Estefina and more relying of manager James Gabarra’s possession style of soccer.
Three of Washington’s leading goal scorers are the starting midfielders consisting of Diana Matheson, Joanna Lohman, and Christine Nairn. Gabarra’s philosophy of maintaining possession has eased the burden of the forwards’ lack of scoring this season. Shelina’s injury may be the problem for the Spirit defense can be shaky.
When the Washington Spirit win, they score multiple goals doing so. The Spirit has won ten games scoring two or more goals according to www.soccerpunter.com The Chicago Red Stars has only three victories when they scored two or more goals.
Chicago was physical in last week’s victory against Washington, but the Spirit has the advantage of knowing what to expect. Washington has been dodging opponents’ physical game plan to slow them down all season. They just learn to pass at the right time to avoid the contact.
The Red Stars query is that can they hold on to a 1-0 or 2-1 leading against an attacking Washington squad? Chicago had the lead by halftime five times yet was tied at the half in four victories. They can’t chase the game playing their trademark hustling defense while forgetting their attacking duties.
Washington can score two goals to defeat Chicago. They did when they beat the Red Stars at the SoccerPlex in July, and Chicago’s losses were multi-scoring affairs. This game may be over if the Spirit get a comfortable 2-0 lead. It can also get interesting if it remains scoreless or 1-1 as the 90th minute gets closer.