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Washington Spirit’s season finale versus Sky Blue FC postponed due to lightning

The Maryland SoccerPlex remained empty during a lightning delay Saturday night, which caused the Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue FC NWSL match to be postponed. (José Umaña/Pro Soccer USA)

BOYDS, Md. – Thunderstorms forced stadium officials to postpone the Washington Spirit’s last game of the National Women’s Soccer League season against winless Sky Blue FC at the Maryland SoccerPlex Saturday night.

The game will now be played at 10 a.m. ET Sunday.

On-and-off thunderstorms ruled the Metropolitan area all day, forcing Spirit officials to push back the scheduled 7 p.m. kickoff an hour. However, periodic lightning leading to the new start time, including as players prepared to enter the field for warm-ups, continued the delay.

One more attempt was made to get the game started at 9:55 p.m., but thunder reappeared as the coin toss took place. Because of the storms and an 11 p.m. venue curfew, officials decided to move the game to the following day.

The Spirit (2-17-4, 10 points) have struggled with weather problems in their home venue all season. Rain and lighting delayed their June 2 match for more than five hours. And July 21, torrential thunderstorms forced their match versus the Houston Dash to be postponed to the following day.

In both situations, Washington lost after the delays.

A Spirit victory would end a 14-game winless streak and tie them for the least number of wins in a season since 2013. Meanwhile, Sky Blue (0-16-5, 5 points) have yet to earn a victory during the entire 2018 season and have only collected five points via ties.

However, both teams entered Saturday’s contests with retooled rosters after several players were called up to their respective national teams during the FIFA international break.

Sky Blue added three national team replacement players as striker Imani Dorsey and midfielder Savannah McCaskill joined the United States under-23 women’s national team for the U-23 Nordic Tournament in Norway Aug. 29 to Sept. 3. Star midfielder Carli Lloyd was also called up for the U.S. women’s national team’s pair of friendlies against Chile.

Washington added six replacement players after eight of their players were called up for international duty. The list of missing players included leading goal-scorer Ashley Hatch (U.S. U-23), midfield playmaker Estefanía Banini (Argentina), midfielder Rose Lavelle and forward Mallory Pugh (U.S.).  Three of the five replacement players — Zoe Clark, Megan Crosson and Tiffany McCarty — were scheduled to start for Washington.

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