2017 NWSL Draft – Team Needs (Part One)

Boston Breakers

Picks – 1, 3, 8, 9, 11, 31, 38

Signed (16)

GK – Smith, Stout

DEF – Elby, Strom, Westphal, Oyster, Chapman, King

MF – Ratcliffe, Salem, DaCosta, White, Verdoia

FW – Dowie, Simon, Haavi

Unsigned

DEF – Engen

The Breakers have seven picks overall, including five of the first eleven, and they’re going to need them to pan out considering the state of the roster. Boston finished dead last in goals scored and goals allowed, with the defense seventeen goals worse than the next leakiest defense. Manager Matt Beard has engaged in a clearout in the offseason while also trying to bring in some international talent to fortify the ranks, but the draft is a clear focus for the club in restocking the reserves of talent in Boston.

In goal, Abby Smith is the presumptive #1 after impressing in brief action last season before a serious injury ended her rookie season. Smith’s health is obviously going to dictate Boston’s course of action, but it’s difficult envisioning them spending one of their earlier picks on a netminder given the holes elsewhere. Libby Stout is the likely backup and saw extended minutes here last season, but the Breakers can probably do better and may choose to use one of their final picks on some competition for the backup spot.

Defense has to be a clear priority after the horror show on the backline last year. With Mollie Pathman retired and Kassey Kallman shipped to Washington, the rebuilding effort’s already well under way, though the talent on hand doesn’t exactly foster confidence at first glance. Megan Oyster arrived in the trade with Kallman and is likely being looked at to start at center-back after falling out of favor in D.C. in her second season. Who partners her is a good question, with veteran Julie King a likely option right now. Whitney Engen would obviously slide into that second center-back spot if she re-signs here, which certainly is not guaranteed right now. It would be a surprise if the Breakers don’t use one of their early picks on a central defender.

If the club does get Engen back, King likely starts at right-back with newly acquired Allysha Chapman the likely starter at left-back. Depth here isn’t great though, so the Breakers might need to reach a bit to bring in someone that can compete for minutes on the flanks.

Boston will likely be looking to use it’s top pick on an attacking midfielder after Kristie Mewis was sent to the Spirit via trade in the offseason. The team is missing a noted attacking spark in the center of the park, even after the additions of Amanda Da Costa and Rosie White. Again, depth is an issue here, even if Angela Salem starts against as a defensive midfielder.

The Breakers look to be set at forward. Natasha Dowie looked an inspired signing upon joining the team last season, while Kyah Simon should also push for starting minutes despite being goal shy in 2016 for the club. Big things are expected of new recruit Emilie Haavi out of Norway, though how many games Beard gets out of her this season with UEFA EURO 2017 pending is a question. It doesn’t seem too likely Boston spends a first-rounder on a forward though.

Biggest Needs: AM, CB (especially if Engen doesn’t re-sign), general depth everywhere, backup GK competition Continue reading

NWSL – 2017 NWSL Draft – Chris’ Big Board #51 to 75

51. Madison Tiernan – F (CF), MF (AMC) – Rutgers

What I Said Before 2016:

A bit of a mixed bag as a prospect, as Tiernan’s never really developed into a top level forward after some promising performances as a rookie for the Scarlet Knights. Tiernan was already one of the AAC’s top attackers as a rookie before Rutgers moved into the Big Ten, scoring six goals for the club and then repeating the feat a season later, setting up hopes for a junior season that would help her club to bigger and better things. The Scarlet Knights got there, of course, but few could probably argue that Tiernan had a big hand in it after slumping to a mystifying two goals on a whopping sixty-three shots. She’ll probably get a look, as inevitably all Rutgers players do with Sky Blue FC in close proximity, but a big rebound season as a senior may be necessary for Tiernan to move back up the board.

Anything New?

Well, Tiernan kept shooting in 2016, but this time, she actually put up some tangible results, netting a career high eleven goals while also assisting on six goals, also a career best. Tiernan’s efficiency continues to be a serious issue, with the Rutgers forward needing nine shots per goal while putting less than 50% of her efforts on frame. But when Tiernan did find the back of the net, she did it against some big time opposition, including UConn, Georgetown, and Penn State. This is a crowded class of forwards though, meaning Tiernan may need to make it through the camp invite route.

52. Tabby Tindell – F – Florida Gulf Coast

What I Said Before 2016:

Florida Gulf Coast’s been formidable for a while in DI, but they’ve only truly hit a new level since the rise of Tindell, who has been a scoring terror for the Eagles the past three seasons. Fifteen goals as a freshman was a marvelous debut for Tindell, and she’s promptly followed it up with thirty-seven combined goals in the two following seasons, including seventeen last year to go with ten assists. Tindell’s proven to be solid efficiency-wise, with five shots per non-penalty goal last season while putting an absurd 67.5% of shots on frame. The big question is if the Eagles forward can do it consistently against top level teams. The evidence from last year doesn’t exactly speak in her favor.  It could potentially be a case of needing to flourish in an environment surrounded by pro level players, but if Tindell can’t find her scoring touch against top teams as a senior, she might not make it above late-round flyer status.

Anything New?

Tindell’s goal total dipped slightly to fourteen as a senior, but she was still the class of the field in the A-Sun and at one point scored in ten straight matches in the middle of the season. But she struggled down the stretch, with just one goal in FGCU’s final five matches and was held without a shot on goal in the finale against Florida. Tindell did a little better against bigger opposition than in past seasons, but she didn’t have the huge performance against a top team that would’ve put her name in lights. In a very tough class, Tindell’s going to be a late round find or hopeful camp invitee.

53. Emily Armstrong – GK – UConn

What I Said Before 2016:

Armstrong might be the one who got away for Boston College, who had the keeper on their books in 2012 but did not use her, with the netminder transferring to regional rival UConn right after that season and has been a revelation in goal for the Huskies ever since. Armstrong really had a star turn in the 2014 AAC Tournament, where she was a rock in goal, helping the Huskies to silverware with a strong display in goal in the competition. She didn’t look back as a junior, winning league Goalkeeper of the Year honors after another fantastic season between the pipes for the Huskies. Usually working with a very secure set of hands, Armstrong is still capable of making acrobatic saves and has a rocket for a leg, especially on punts. The Husky keeper still could get a bit better in the air for someone her size, but the upside is definitely there.

Anything New?

Armstrong excelled again on a UConn side that just overpowered almost all of its league rivals, but the lack of a deep NCAA Tournament run could stifle her profile a bit heading into the draft. When I saw her live against Cincinnati, Armstrong seemed to struggle a bit in traffic, which adds to the concerns in the air stated above. Still, Armstrong’s an A-level shot stopper that isn’t afraid to play on the edge. She’s not an elite prospect, but Armstrong is probably worth a long look at the very least. Continue reading

NWSL – 2017 NWSL Draft – Chris’ Big Board #27 to 50

27. Josee Stiever – MF – Minnesota

What I Said Before 2016:

A big part of Minnesota’s midfield over the past three seasons, Stiever’s been a little bit overlooked nationally but could be bound for a big 2016 for the Golden Gophers. Stiever really began to show what she was capable of as a sophomore in 2014, tallying up five goals and five assists for Minnesota, including some big contributions in league play in the Big Ten. Stiever’s numbers would dip a little bit as a junior but only slightly, with the midfielder still managing four goals and four assists on the season, again doing much of her damage on the stat sheet in league play for Minnesota. Minnesota could surprise a few teams in the Big Ten this upcoming season given some of the talent they have coming back, and Stiever could be a big part of that run.

Anything New?

Stiever sealed her rep as a Big Ten team killer this season, including assisting in all three wins en route to Minnesota doing the double by sealing a Big Ten Tournament title on home soil. She doubled up on 2015’s production, finishing with eight goals and ten assists in a very impressive season to close out her college career. As one of this class’ late risers, Stiever could be a canny pick in the second half of the draft for someone.

28. Mimi Rangel – MF – Long Beach State

What I Said Before 2016:

The Beach have been one of the west’s top mid-majors for a while now, and players like Rangel have been big contributors to that success. Making an immediate impression as a rookie with five goals and four assists, Rangel was the Big West Freshman of the Year and earned all-league First Team honors, a rarity for freshmen in power mid-majors. While Rangel hasn’t busted out and become a superstar as some might have expected, she’s still be a very good player for the 49ers and has helped make them a constant threat for Big West silverware. Rangel followed up her rookie year with a three goal, six assist season that earned her Midfielder of the Year honors in the league which set the table for a potentially big 2015. Rangel slipped a bit though, with her goal total dipping to just two, with one of those coming from the spot, while notching five assists. Rangel still has a chance of being the rare player to win All-League first team honors all four seasons of her collegiate career, though her ceiling might be a bit lower than expected after her brilliant rookie season. She’s a bit undersized at 5’2”, but she’ll be battle tested coming into the next level with LBSU having played tough schedules all throughout her four years there.

Anything New?

Rangel finished her LBSU career with a flourish, taking home a second Midfielder of the Year honor for the Big West and becoming just the third player in conference history to be named All-League First Team four times. Rangel didn’t achieve any huge breakthrough on the stat sheet, instead staying pretty consistent with four goals and five assists. The size concerns still linger, but NWSL clubs could do far worse than Rangel if looking for a late round sleeper.

29. Hannah Seabert – GK – Pepperdine

What I Said Before 2016:

Seabert was a bit of a surprise in excelling coming out of high school, as she was far from the most highly touted keeper in this class entering college but has proven to be quite the find for Tim Ward and co. The Riverside native was an immediate factor in Malibu though, starting as a rookie in every match and being kept very busy by a sometimes porous backline. It wouldn’t be until 2014 that Seabert really began to show her potential though, as the Waves’ netminder grew into one of the region’s best keepers. Stock probably dipped a bit after Pepperdine’s dismal 2015 season, but that likely had more to do with a misfiring offense than Seabert’s play. Not the smoothest keeper mechanically, so needs good coaching at the next level, but still has potential.

Anything New?

Seabert remains a top goalkeeping prospect in this class after the Waves bounced right back up the table, with the Pepperdine netminder doing her fair share throughout the season. Her flaws are still there, meaning she’s probably more of a developmental goalkeeper than immediate savior, but Seabert stands out amongst the many talented keepers in this class with her size, athletic ability, and shot-stopping prowess.

30. Lindsey Harris – GK – North Carolina

New Profile!

Harris has rocketed from just another member of UNC’s traditional goalkeeping rotation to one of the nation’s best goalkeepers in impressive fashion after some eye-popping displays in 2016 as a senior. Buried on the depth chart for two seasons with the Heels, Harris would first really got a shot in 2014 as she rotated with Bryane Heaberlin for the next two seasons but saw her profile and performances rise to the point that she was the undisputed #1 in Chapel Hill for her final year of eligibility. Harris’ outstanding play against top-flight opposition was a major reason the Heels advanced to another College Cup, as she was under fire from some of the nation’s top attacks on a consistent basis. A brilliant shot-stopper with an ability to make near impossible reflex saves, Harris also plays with a bigger presence than 5’7” frame indicates on paper. Worries? Other than the size, the lack of a ton of experience and minutes is a very slight separator for Harris and the elite in this class. She’s played the equivalent of just two seasons collegiately for the Heels in terms of minutes, but that also means there’s a lot of room to grow. If a team is patient with Harris, she could eventually end up as this class’ best keeper. Continue reading

NWSL – 2017 NWSL Draft – Chris’ Big Board Top 26

Hello everyone. Instead of making everyone wait for the full edition, here are the Top 25 on my Big Board after the 2016 season, only considering players that have officially declared as of today. If you read the earlier version of the Big Board posted this past Summer, you can skip the “What I Said Before 2016” section for each prospect and just move onto the “Anything New?” section for each prospect.

EDIT: I’ve added YouTube highlight videos for players that have them. Click on the player’s name where applicable.

EDIT 2: This post has been edited to reflect additional prospects who have entered the draft.

I’ll be posting profiles of the rest of the prospects ranked on my board later in the week.

1. Rose Lavelle – MF (MC) – Wisconsin

What I Said Before 2016:

On the precipice of a breakthrough at senior international level, Lavelle looks to be a dead certainty to be one of the top two picks in January’s draft, and could end up going #1 overall depending on team need. While Lavelle was a highly touted player coming into Wisconsin, few probably envisioned her rising to this level after four seasons in the college ranks. But Lavelle was an instant star for the Badgers, winning Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors and raking in awards by the bucketful since at an individual level, including a pair of All-America honors her past two seasons in Madison. Some might argue that Lavelle’s high volume shooting can be problematic at times, but given the dearth of weapons around Lavelle at times, it’s a lot more understandable. Lavelle impresses just as much with her ability to keep the game simple with short passes as she does with her runs with the ball from midfield. It’s those runs with the ball at warp speed that captivate the eye and make the quick footed Lavelle such a threat to opposing defenses. But most are probably starving for the opportunity to see Lavelle in an offense with superior players to see what the midfield schemer can really do.

Anything New?

Lavelle played in a deeper midfield role for much of 2016, which may help her draft stock, but it probably didn’t do much to enhance a toothless Wisconsin attack. She still played well and is an easy first round pick and potential #1 though thanks to her upside. I don’t think she’s a can’t miss player, but I do think Lavelle is a sturdy building block for someone in the midfield.

2. Christina Gibbons – D/MF – Duke

What I Said Before 2016:

Duke’s Swiss army knife really began to rise to prominence in 2014 when she battled her way onto the U.S.’ U20 World Cup team and held her own at left-back for most of the tournament. It underlined Gibbons’ ability at youth international level after having impressed early on in her Blue Devils career, when she had started every match as a rookie while looking like one of the best young defenders in the country. Gibbons continued to grow as a sophomore despite battling injuries late and showcased her versatility in taking up a more offensive role for the Blue Devils as they searched for goals. But Gibbons only really took the leap to the next level for Duke last season, helping marshal one of the nation’s best defenses. With Gibbons playing multiple roles for Duke over the course of the season, she excelled both defensively and going forward, netting three goals and five assists in an All-America season for Duke as they made a thrilling run to the College Cup final. Her versatility in being able to play just about anywhere on the pitch should help her cause, though you have to figure she’ll find her best role at full-back, the role she filled at the U20 World Cup.

Anything New?

Gibbons played more of an offensive role as a senior out of necessity as the Blue Devils were crushed by injuries. That they were able to get to the Elite Eight and within one win of an ACC title is a massive credit to their senior class, including Gibbons, who continues to look like a star in the making. The big question is, where on the pitch will it be? Conceivably, Gibbons could be a utility player used where needed. Regardless, she looks like a very good bet for the first round.

3. Savannah Jordan – F (CF) – Florida

What I Said Before 2016:

The active scoring leader in DI going into 2016 has been an unholy terror with the ball at her feet for three seasons for the Gators. Jordan made the best first impression possible as a freshman, scoring twenty-two goals for Florida, one of the best hauls in history at this level for a rookie. It’s been a steady deluge of goals ever since for Jordan, who topped nineteen goals as a sophomore with last season’s twenty-four goals and seven assists. While Jordan’s not lightning quick, she has enough of a burst and accompanying strength to separate from most opposing defenders. And if Jordan gets a sight of goal within eighteen yards, it’s almost assured that she’s going to be celebrating a goal. If the team that drafts her doesn’t try to get cute and do something daft like put her out on the wing, Jordan is going to be a dangerous scoring presence at the next level for years to come.

Anything New?

Jordan was still pretty good in 2016 but not quite the analytics darling that she was in her junior season. She still finished tied for seventeenth all-time in D1 career goals though and was still one of the nation’s top forwards. And yet the clarion call of “she’s not quick enough” has been uttered in some circles. As was the case with Makenzy Doniak last season, some teams never learn, and Jordan should still be a fine pro going forward with the right fit. Continue reading

NWSL – 2017 NWSL Draft – Four Factors Rankings

Is this thing on?

Why hello. After a long, long time away, I’m back for wall-to-wall coverage of the 2017 NWSL Draft, including on-site coverage, live from Los Angeles.

While I’m waiting until the official list of declared players comes out to release any type of public big board, I’ve calculated my Four Factors rankings for attackers for this past season. What are the Four Factors? Here’s my description from an earlier year’s rankings:

As anyone who follows me fervently knows, I’m always looking for new ways to quantify performance within college and pro WoSo. Branching out on last season’s analysis before the NWSL Draft, I’ve gone a step further by creating a “Four Factors” metric designed to measure efficiency and potency of attacking players eligible for the draft. As a quick check against last year’s draft class, the majority of players at the top of the rankings were drafted.

So who’s eligible to be tracked and what are the factors?

Who’s eligible? Any player who scored ten goals this season that were NOT penalties.

The Factors:

SPG – Shots per Goal – How many shots does it take for a player to score?

SOG% – Shot on Goal Percentage – How many of the player’s shots force a goalkeeper into action?

50 – Goals Scored Against RPI Top 50 Teams

100 – Goals Scored Against RPI Top 100 Teams

Each player in an individual draft class is ranked against the other eligible players, with the top ranked player in a category receiving the most points. If there are ten eligible players and a player finishes at the top of the RPI Top 100 category, that player gets ten “points” in the rankings. In terms of the 50/100 categories, players who didn’t score against RPI Top 50/100 clubs get zero points for that category. Points for all four of the ranking categories are added together to come up with a grand total.

While I’ve previously separated things out by class, this year, I’ve lumped everyone into the same data pool for the sake of my own calculations. Again, this isn’t meant to be a perfect guide, as stat keeping for the efficiency stats is shaky at times for some schools.

I’ve attached an Excel data file here if you’re interested in raw data.

Here are the basic rankings, with some notes for some interesting/notable findings (players ranked from worst to first):

34 – Ashley Herndon – James Madison – SR

Oof. Herndon comes in dead last on these rankings at probably the worst time possible thanks to not scoring against anyone with a pulse and some horrid efficiency numbers. She was a borderline draft prospect in my eyes going into 2016, but I’d probably opt out now.

39 – Chloe Williams – Eastern Washington – JR
56 – Alexis Pelefas – Central Michigan – SO
59 – Lauren Koehl – Illinois State – SR

59 – Margaret ‘Midge’ Purce – Harvard – SR

Purce is likely to be taken in the first half of the draft this year, but she’s still a very divisive prospect. The continued absence of production against top teams (even considering Harvard’s scheduling constraints) and poor efficiency numbers are still alarming. She passes the eye test, but I’d still be sweating bullets if choosing her.

60 – Megan Greene – Charlotte – FR
62 – Natasha Minor – Southeast Missouri State – SR
66 – Lexi Prillaman – Richmond – JR
68 – Savannah LaRicci – McNeese State – JR
72 – Jill Mullholland – Hofstra – SR
75 – Jemma Purfield – South Alabama – SO
77 – Emily Gingrich – Saint Joseph’s – SR
89 – Jessica Frey – Northern Kentucky – JR
90 – Carissima Cutrona – Buffalo – SO
101 – Maddie Clark – Mercer – SR
104 – Kela Gray – Howard – JR
116 – Hannah Rosenblatt – Northeastern – SO
116 – Jenna Hellstrom – Kent State – SO
119 – Maddie Gibson – Monmouth – FR
121 – Sarah Segan – William & Mary – FR

123 – Carol Rodrigues – UCF – SR

If you’re an international forward on the bubble, you better be high up on this list if you’re expecting to be drafted. Rodrigues isn’t and probably will be headed for other shores to get paid.

124 – Aaliyah Lewis – Alabama State – SR
126 – Allie Thornton – SMU – FR
127 – Ashley Smith – Central Arkansas – SO
127 – Sarah Collins – Stetson – JR

128 – Murielle Tiernan – Virginia Tech – SR

Tiernan’s probably done enough throughout her career to earn the benefit of the doubt for 2016, but her senior season probably didn’t help her draft stock.

128 – Tabby Tindell – Florida Gulf Coast – SR
131 – Kiersten Johnson – Toledo – SR
137 – Isabella Habuda – Liberty – JR
138 – Holly Enderle – North Dakota State – SO
140 – MacKenzie Cowley – George Washington – SR
140 – Maddie Mulford – Bucknell – JR
140 – Sarah Bonney – Texas Rio Grande Valley – FR
143 – Dakota Mills – Saint Joseph’s – SO
149 – Eleonora Goldoni – East Tennessee State – SO
151 – Molly Dwyer – Furman – JR
151 – Chandler Backes – Western Kentucky – FR
153 – Libby Leedom – Dayton – SR
153 – Kendall Ham – Bucknell – JR
153 – Laadi Issaka – Mississippi Valley State – JR
156 – Ariela Lewis – Alabama State – JR
160 – Rachelle Ross – Monmouth – JR

161 – Simone Kolander – Minnesota – SR

If you can stomach some middling efficiency numbers, Kolander could be worth a late flyer for attack minded teams thanks to a lot of goals against top teams.

164 – Michaela Abam – West Virginia – JR

Abam’s a statistical unicorn. The WVU forward scored the most goals against RPI Top 50 teams this season and finished dead last in shots per goal and shots on target % among players with ten non-penalty goals. Will the former outweigh the latter come next year? We’ll see. Continue reading

Playoffs at the ‘Plex

Lori Lindsey holds off Marta, from a gameday program cover for the last team to have a women's professional soccer match at the 'Plex, the 2009 Washington Freedom.

Lori Lindsey holds off Marta, from a gameday program cover for the last team to have a women’s professional soccer playoff match at the ‘Plex, the 2009 Washington Freedom.

Based on what I’ve read on Twitter and elsewhere, Spirit fans have a definite glass-half-empty feeling about losing the first-place spot the last weekend of the season after having held it for several weeks previously. But look on the bright side: this is the best regular-season finish in the history of Washington women’s professional soccer.

Yes, Abby Wambach never managed it in four years here. Heck, Wambach and Mia Hamm combined never managed it. But this bunch of no-names – certainly with no one of the marquee value of the aforementioned – did the job.

However, though this Friday’s home playoff match is a first for the Spirit, it’s not a first for Washington (or the Soccerplex). Back in 2009, the Freedom finished third in Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) on the strength of a 4-1-1 finish to the season, which included a barnburner, 4-4 match against Sky Blue at Yurcak Field that the Freedom tied up in the final minutes off a goal from Cat Whitehill. (I got held up at halftime behind the stands chatting with someone at that match and got back late only to find that I’d missed not one but two goals.) It’s a team with a few players familiar to Spirit fans: Joanna Lohman, Lori Lindsey, and Ali Krieger were all on the roster.
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Virginia Tech Tournament: Hokies Rule, Dukes Split

Ashley Herndon tallied a goal and an assist for James Madison but was only able to lead them to a split of their two matches.

Ashley Herndon tallied a goal and an assist for James Madison but was only able to lead them to a split of their two matches.

Once again I was able to head down to Thompson Field in Blacksburg, VA, to take in a four-team weekend tournament. This time Virginia Tech was hosting James Madison University, Indiana University, and Boston University.
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I went to the protests, and a soccer match broke out

Megan Rapinoe and Laura Harvey talk with the press after the match.

Megan Rapinoe and Laura Harvey talk with the press after the match.

For the second year in a row, the Seattle Reign’s late-season visit to the Soccerplex is overshadowed by happenings outside the match. You can find a zillion recaps and reactions to the sideshow online, both from the sources that cover the NWSL on a regular basis and the ones who only cover the league when something embarrassing or controversial happens.

You can read Spirit owner Bill Lynch’s explanation of why he rescheduled the anthem to prevent Megan Rapinoe from kneeling during the national anthem over at Equalizer Soccer. And I’ve uploaded Rapinoe’s fifteen-minute post-game interview – of which less than a minute is about the game – to Youtube. Caitlin Buckley also has a transcription of key parts of it.

And Steven Goff of the Washington Post has a day-after followup.

I’m still formulating my own opinion on the situation and don’t want to focus on that at this point, anyhow, but I will note on a night that Lynch’s team ensured a home playoff game and the most successful regular season of any Washington team ever, thanks in considerable part to him there’s hardly any attention being paid to that. But I’ll try to remedy that from here on out.
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Spirit Clinch Playoff Spot With 1-1 Draw Against Flash

It’s not hard to tell when the Spirit are going to win: they’ll be pinging the ball around from player to player, players always on the move to make themselves an open passing target, everyone calmly keeping possession and looking for an opening. I knew from the start of last week’s game that they’d beat Orlando because they came out playing that way.

Tonight against the Western New York Flash it was like that for only about ten minutes late in the first half. Other than that and a few minutes in the second half, the team seemed to be on their heels the entire evening. For both halves I sat near the goal Washington was attacking, and for both halves my dominant recollection is peering into the distance as the Flash went after the far goal.
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Spirit Triumph Over Breakers in Playoff Battle of NWSL Reserve Teams

Imani Dorsey scored twice to lead the Spirit Reserves to victory.

Imani Dorsey scored twice to lead the Spirit Reserves to victory.

WPSL East Conference Final: Washington Spirit Reserves 3, Boston Breakers Reserves 1

It was everything you’d expect the first-ever match between two NWSL reserve teams to be: hard-fought, high-quality, and suspenseful. But the 2015 W-League Champion Washington Spirit Reserves came out on top on the strength of two goals from Imani Dorsey and a strike from distance by Maddie Huster that Carli Lloyd would have been proud of. Boston’s Katie Lenz countered with a well-placed goal, but it wasn’t enough.
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