Soccer

USWNT defender Ali Krieger throws Nationals first pitch in return to D.C.

USWNT defender Ali Krieger throws Nationals first pitch in return to D.C.

Upon returning to the United States, the USWNT have been treated like royalty, and for good reason. The world champs won "best team" award at the EPSY's, had a parade in their honor in New York City and have made appearances on late-night shows like Jimmy Kimmel and James Gordon.

D.C. native Ali Krieger is no exception. A baseball fan all her life, she's been going to Camden Yards since she was a kid and her aunt even dated Cal Ripken Jr. A former player for the Washington Pride of the NWSL, she was honored at the Nationals-Rockies game Thursday and even threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

"I’m just thrilled to be here, I know the Nationals have supported me and the team throughout the tournament and throughout my career here," Krieger complimented.

Although D.C. is her hometown, it hasn't always been her home base. She played overseas in Germany for five and a half years, citing that time as a crucial period for her development on and off the field. 

"I think it really helped me get to the national team...I feel like if you put yourself in an uncomfortable situation, that challenges you to grow both as a player and as a person." 

As the World Cup hype begins to die down, players need to find ways to sustain the momentum for women's soccer. The NWSL, where Krieger plays for the Orlando Pride, only has nine teams and the past two women's soccer leagues folded after only a couple years. Attendance has increased, however, and Krieger thinks it's up to the clubs to capitalize on how well the players are performing. 

"We have to start asking the sponsorships, the clubs and organizations, 'are you doing everything you can in your power to help put butts in the seats?' Because we’re doing our part," said Krieger.

Despite all the fame she's garnered this summer, Krieger is just another regular D.C. sports fan at her core. She's fangirled over Davey Martinez and seeing Nats players watching and becoming fans of hers has been an incredible experience. 

"It’s a great feeling because the feelings are mutual," said Krieger. "I think it’s a rewarding feeling that they respect us because we’re good at our sport and we’re inspiring a nation and a world."

MORE SOCCER NEWS

Washington Spirit vs NC Courage: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

Washington Spirit vs NC Courage: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

With playoffs on the line, the Washington Spirit hosts the NC Courage in a must-win regular-season home finale Saturday night.

NC Courage sits high atop their first-place throne with an icy six-win streak, 14-4--4 record overall leading the NWSL with 46 points, 31 goal differential, 50 goals for and 19 goals against. The struggling Spirit, with one win, one loss and three draws in their past five matches, need to find a way to crack the Courage and tack on another win to keep postseason hopes alive.

Mallory Pugh has made strong moves for the Spirit since returning from injury and will be a key player to breakthrough the Courage defense with nine clean sheets (just one more than Washington) and averaging 0.9 goals allowed per game.

The Spirit cannot afford to lose this game if they want to snag a playoff spot, and that chase continues in Maryland.

SPIRIT-COURAGE GAME: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Spirit vs. NC Courage

Where: Maureen Hendricks Field Maryland SoccerPlex, Boyds, MD

When: Saturday, September 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington 

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Washington Spirit vs Houston Dash: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

Washington Spirit vs Houston Dash: Time, TV Channel, How to watch

The Washington Spirit will make their way to Houston in hopes to secure three points against the Houston Dash on Wednesday night.  

The Spirit are coming off of a 3-1 loss to the Chicago Red Stars, dropping them to 7W-8L-5D. 

For the first time in quite a while, both midfielder Rose Lavelle and forward Mallory Pugh took the field against the Red Stars. Lavelle returned to the lineup after suffering a head injury a few months ago and played 45 minutes in her first game since August 17. 

During the 80th minute, Pugh scored her first goal of the season but it wasn’t enough to take the lead over the Dash. 

Wednesday nights game will be Washington’s first time as a part of the NWSL’s new broadcast deal with ESPN. 

Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2. 

SPIRIT-DASH GAME: HOW TO WATCH

What: Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash 

Where: BBVA Stadium, Houston, TX

When: Wednesday, September 25 at 9:00 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN2 

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