The Washington Spirit have finished first in the Northeast Pod in the 2020 NWSL Fall Series. With Sky Blue’s convincing 3–1 win over the Chicago Red Stars recently, the Washington Spirit’s first place position in the Northeast Pod was mathematically confirmed. With a 2–1–1 record, seven points and a plus-one goal differential, the Spirit best both geographic rivals.
Sky Blue finish the group in second, at 2–0–2 with six points and a minus-one goal difference. With Saturday’s loss, Chicago drops to 1–1–2 in the Fall Series, finishing bottom of the group with four points and an even goal differential.
Heading into Saturday’s game, a Red Stars win by any margin would have seen the Chicago outfit top the Northeast Pod. Before Saturday’s loss, Chicago was 1–1–1 with four points, but had a plus-two goal differential. A win would have left Chicago and Washington tied on points, with the Red Stars claiming top spot on goal difference.
The Northeast Pod was defined by parody. In two games against Sky Blue, for example, the Spirit were 1–1, scored two goals and conceded two goals. In two matches facing Chicago, Washington was 1–0–1, netted three times and allowed two goals.
In games between Sky Blue and the Red Stars, each team won once and lost once — with each squad winning convincingly at home. At SeatGeek Stadium in Chicago, the Red Stars cruised to a 4–1 win, but lost 3–1 when travelling to Montclair, NJ. Interestingly, Chicago did not win a game away from home, while the Spirit and Sky Blue both won their away matches against each other.
With both the Red Stars and Sky Blue sending six and four players on loan, respectively, combined with various injuries for all three teams, the Fall Series allowed the three head coaches, Richie Burke (WAS), Freya Coombe (NJ) and Rory Dames (CHI) to play younger players vying for future spots on the team.
Of the five goals the Spirit scored in four games, there were five different goal-scorers — Paige Nielsen, Bayley Feist, Jessie Scarpa, Crystal Thomas and Kumi Yokoyama (in that order).
With the Northeast Pod having wrapped up all its games on Saturday, the points have been locked in. The Spirit currently sit in third place in the league standings, but there are still three games left to play in the Fall Series.
Of the remaining games, OL Reign would have to win both their matches and the North Carolina Courage needing a win by a three-goal margin to vault the Spirit in the standings.
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