Soccer

Washington Spirit and Australian national players try American treats for first time

Washington Spirit and Australian national players try American treats for first time

Washington Spirit and Australian national players Chloe Logarzo and Amy Harrison sat down with NBC Sports Washington to taste test a few American favorites and rate the treats. For the first time ever, Aussies Logarzo and Harrison each tried a Twinkie and took a sip of Coke.  

For Harrison, the initial comment after taking a bite was disgust, "Ew."  

However, Logarzo gave the twinkie a 10 out of 10, "if I was seven years old." 

Both players enjoyed the Coke and had tasted it before. 

The Washington Spirit are returning home to their stomping grounds to host Portland Thorns FC at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, May 17.

Both the Spirit and Thorns are coming off wins from last weekend, with the Spirit defeating Sky Blue FC 3-2 and the Thorns beating the Orlando Pride 3-1. This weekend is a chance for both teams to move up in the NWSL standings. The Spirit currently sits in 6th place (2-1-1), just one spot behind the Thorns in 5th place (2-0-2).

If the Spirit secure a win against the Thorns they could move up as high as second place in the NWSL table, their highest ranking since 2016.

Both the Spirit and the Thorns will be missing a few contributors to their rosters who are currently preparing with the U.S. Women’s National team for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Spirit forward Mallory Pugh and midfielder Rose Lavelle will be absent and Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch, midfielders Tobin Heath and Lindsey Horan, forward Christine Sinclair and defender Emily Sonnett will be absent as well.

This has been a big week for the Spirit. Both defender Cheyna Matthews and goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe received accolades for their contributions in the league.

During the 22nd and 68th minutes of last weeks game against Sky Blue FC, Matthews scored to put Washington ahead. Matthews was nominated for the NWSL’s week five Goal of the Week.

In addition, Bledsoe was named the Westfield W-League’s goalkeeper of the year after helping Sydney FC claim the 2019 W-League title. Bledsoe is only the third American goalkeeper to receive this award.

Spirit vs. Thorns FC takes place at the Maryland SoccerPlex, on the team's first annual Armed Forces Night. The Spirit will show appreciation to veterans and active duty service members at halftime and provide discounted priced tickets to the game.

The Big Twenty: DC United wins MLS Cup

The Big Twenty: DC United wins MLS Cup

For the next three weeks, NBC Sports Washington will be rolling out the 20 biggest stories in DMV sports in the past 20 years. Here is No. 19.

A new phenom. A new coach. A renewed hope that DC United could return to glory and capture their first MLS Cup title since 1999.

That is exactly what transpired as the 2004 MLS season brought the fourth championship in team history to DC United.

The offseason started with the departure of Ray Hudson behind the bench, replaced by retired Chicago Fire star Peter Nowak. One of the best players in the early days of MLS, Nowak had retired from playing in 2002 before taking a job in the Chicago front office. When DCU’s ownership came calling, Nowak jumped at the chance to take over the most highly-decorated team in the league’s young history.

In the same month that Nowak took the helm, DC United brought 14-year-old phenom Freddy Adu aboard, becoming the youngest American to ever sign a contract in any professional league. The youngster carried plenty of hype into his first professional season and finished third on the team with five goals while playing in every match.

The retirement of longtime club legend, and last remaining member of the inaugural 1996 team, Marco Etcheverry at the end of the 2003 season brought an end to the initial Golden Age of DC United when the club collected eight trophies across all competitions in the first three years of its existence. 2004 marked the start of a second golden age with the team winning another four trophies to add to the trophy case in the next four years.

The regular season started slowly for United with a 5-8-6 record in the first 19 games of the season. The team rebounded in August and rode a 6-2-3 close to the season to the 2nd seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Forwards Alecko Eskandarian and Jaime Moreno shouldered the scoring load for the Black-and-Red with 10 and seven goals respectively as DC got set for a Conference Semifinal matchup with the New York/New Jersey Metrostars in the first round of the postseason.

United ran through the MetroStars with back-to-back 2-0 victories, booking its place in the Eastern Conference Final with the New England Revolution. A riveting back-and-forth game saw United take the lead three separate times only for the Revolution to equalize thrice themselves. All level at three after 90 minutes and extra time, the game was decided in the first-ever penalty shootout in MLS history. In the sudden-death sixth round, United’s Brian Carroll scored and goalkeeper Nick Rimando saved a Clint Dempsey penalty to advance to the club’s fifth MLS Cup in the first nine years of the league.

Kansas City Wizards emerged from the Western Conference to face the Black-and-Red in MLS Cup 2004 played at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. Kansas City took an early lead before DC scored three goals in seven minutes and held on for the fourth title in the club’s eight-year history, and to date, the last time the club has lifted the MLS Cup.

Washington Spirit trade USWNT forward Mallory Pugh for draft picks

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USA TODAY Sports Images

Washington Spirit trade USWNT forward Mallory Pugh for draft picks

The Washington Spirit traded U.S. Women's National Team forward Mallory Pugh to Sky Blue FC on Thursday.

In the deal, the Spirit received the No. 4 overall pick in Thursday's NWSL draft, which they used to select UCLA junior forward Ashley Sanchez. The Spirit also acquired the No. 4 and No. 8 picks of the second round and a 2021 first-rounder.

Washington initially announced that the trade was for a "player to be named later." A post on the team's Twitter account thanking Pugh eventually confirmed the news.

"Thank you @MalPugh for everything you have done for the club and this city. Best of luck with @SkyBlueFC," read the tweet.

Pugh, 21, played in 19 games with seven starts for the U.S. national team in 2019, and her six goals tied for fifth on the team. She made three appearances and scored one goal with one assist as the U.S. claimed gold in the World Cup. She had 10 goals and four assists in three seasons with the Spirit.

Like Pugh, Sanchez is also a member of the USWNT program. After being selected on Thursday, she said the process of turning pro was stressful.

"It was a little stressful, but I'm just really excited," Sanchez said. "This is what I've always dreamed about. And to be at a team like Washington, it's really humbling."

Sanchez led UCLA with 15 assists in the 2019 season, tying her own school single-season record from the previous season, and she was second on the team with seven goals. Sanchez is UCLA’s all-time assists leader with 42 and was a 2018 first-team All-American.

"Ashley is one of the most dynamic players to ever play at UCLA," said UCLA head coach Amanda Cromwell. "It's remarkable that she broke our career assists record as a junior. We know Ashley's success as a Bruin will help her in her endeavors as a professional and national team member. We are excited for her future and wish her the best of luck."

In the second round, the Spirit drafted USC's Natalie Jacobs and Washington State's Averie Collins. They drafted Kansas' Katie McClure in the third round and Sanchez's UCLA teammate Kaiya McCullough in the fourth.