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Washington Spirit vs NC Courage: Match Preview

The Courage need a win. Three points against the current league leaders would be a perfect time to get that win.

Julia Spetsmark was the hero the last time out for the Courage
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The North Carolina Courage travel to play the Washington Spirit tonight and are looking to try and revitalize their season. The Courage come into tonight’s National Women’s Soccer League game with a 3-4-2 record while the Spirit have a 5-3-1 record. Suffice to say, neither side is having the season anyone predicted they would have.

After a solid draw against the Portland Thorns last week, the Courage need to find a win to keep themselves within the playoff conversation until all of their national team players return. Having Debinha and Abby Erceg back should help their cause greatly against Washington.

Debinha will help a team devoid of creativity right now

If head coach Paul Riley decided to, Brazilian midfielder Debinha could start tonight’s match. Her eye for a pass and goals have been sorely missed by the Courage and the likes of Lynn Williams have not been near enough effective without someone like Debinha to help occupy defenses. Debinha’s time with Brazil at the Women’s World Cup may have ended in disappointment but the Courage forward showed just why she’s so highly regarded by many in the NWSL with her performances. If she can continue on in that form, the Courage finally have a little bit of guile back in their roster which will not only help unlock defenses but also help with playing at the tempo the Courage like to play at.

Italy v Brazil: Group C - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France
Debinha has been in training since returning from the Women’s World Cup
Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Debinha has one goal in her four appearances so far this season but a player of her capability will undoubtedly add to that. Courage fans hope that statistic goes up starting tonight if Debinha gets any game time.

The Spirit are the team to beat at the moment

The Washington Spirit have defied all expectations this season and currently are on top of the NWSL table. They have put in some great performances so far this season but have recently drawn two games in a row. They are a young team which is being coached very well at the moment by Richie Burke and making the most of the fact that other teams in the league are missing a lot of key players.

The Spirit have surprised everyone this season
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Making waves for the Spirit right now are Jordan DiBiasi and Andy Sullivan. The two midfielders are making this team tick and ensuring that they have become a very difficult team to defeat. DiBiasi has two goals so far this season while Sullivan has shown why she was so highly rated coming out of college. With Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh still at the World Cup, DiBiasi and Sullivan have become the lynch pins of the Spirit and are a big reason as to why Washington are at the top of the NWSL.

Projected starting lineup

The Courage will need to be at their very best against Washington, something they have not quite managed to do consistently this season. The Courage have had two weeks to prepare for tonight’s match and the additions of Debinha and Abby Erceg should help bring out a better performance than what we have seen so far this season.

Moving Mathias back into the right fullback position, adding Erceg into the backline while bringing in Debinha into midfield will also allow McCall Zerboni to play in her more-preferred position in midfield. Riley has not indicated yet if Debinha and Erceg will play tonight but if I was in his position, if they are fully fit, I would let them play. The difference they would make for the team cannot be understated and they would help change the course of the Courage’s season immediately.