Last Saturday the Washington Spirit has solidified their position at second from the bottom in the nine-team National Womens Soccer League in a 4-0 loss to the Houston Dash. A Spirit roster loaded with national team starters and seasoned veterans who knew how to win matches, the team never came close to meeting expectations of the fans at the Houston match, or for that matter the season.
The team who fans believed had the talent to make the playoffs this season, failed. Over the last 11 matches, the Spirit have scored only one goal. Mallory Pugh, a starting forward on the Spirit roster has scored six goals playing U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team matches in 2018.
Rose Lavelle, another Spirit starting forward from the Spirit scored a goal this past week for the USWNT in a friendly against Brazil. Yet for the Spirit she has zero goals and Pugh carries a lonely two total goals for the Spirit. Granted, Lavelle has been out with an injury for nearly the whole of the season and Pugh had an injury that kept her off the pitch for at least eight matches. That still does not explain their inability to score as well while playing for the Spirit.
Three days after the dismal loss to the Dash, Washington Spirit management started making changes. The first salvo from Spirit ownership announced the immediate termination of head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. Replacing Gabarra as interim head coach will be Tom Torres. The position of general manager will be covered by team President Chris Hummer.
Official comments from the team’s owner were posted on the Spirit website. “Jim has put as much of his heart and soul into women’s soccer, this league and this team as anyone,” said Spirit owner Bill Lynch. “He is a great professional with exceptional character and we can’t thank him enough for his efforts and wish him the best of luck.”
Finishing the season with an interim head coach, and carrying a roster loaded with national team starters from multiple countries, what will the Spirit surprise us with next? Will there be more terminations? How many of the star players will they retain for the 2019 season?
There will be more drama before this year is over.