The Blues begin the 2019 campaign with seven new faces including three former Washington players, Caprice Dydasco, Estelle Johnson and goalkeeper Didi Haracic. Other new faces on the Sky Blue roster include 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Naho Kawasumi, Brazilian international Gabi and 2019 NWSL College Draft picks Julie James and Paige Monaghan.
“After weeks of preparation we are all excited to finally get to play a competitive match,” said Denise Reddy, the team’s head coach. “During the preseason we have had a strong focus on our team organization and creating internal connections. We are setting our own standards for performance and will strive to live up to them each and every game.”
Among those returning to the team is 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and three-time FIFA World Player of the Year, Carli Lloyd, now in her second season with her hometown club. Other notables include 2018 NWSL Rookie of the Year Imani Dorsey, 2016 NWSL Rookie of the Year Raquel Rodriguez and veteran midfielder Sarah Killion.
However, Sky Blue also begins the season with some notable injuries as Mandy Freeman and Madison Tiernan are both out with leg injuries.
Saturday’s match will mark the 16th time the two clubs have faced, in which Sky Blue holds a 6-8-2 record against the Spirit.
The Spirit is led by first-year NWSL coach Richie Burke. His roster includes six rookies and is highlighted by U.S. Women’s National Team players Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh and Andi Sullivan. Washington also recently acquired Australian internationals Amy Harrison and Chloe Logarzo.
Saturday will be the first of three meetings between Washington and Sky Blue this season with the next two taking place in New Jersey. They will face each other for the second time on May 11 at Yurcak Field with kickoff set for 3 p.m. ET.
Sky Blue will host its home opener next Saturday, April 20 at 6 p.m. ET, facing the visiting Houston Dash at Yurcak Field on the campus of Rutgers.