Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone. Particularly the broadcast media, but the real sports news this weekend is happening far away from the Redskins. The Nats, fighting for the division lead, open a 10-game home stand in South East. And the really big news involves clubs the broadcasters don’t know exist.
Both the Mystics and Spirit can clinch playoff appearances with wins Aug. 15 and 16. Washington is in Connecticut tonight against the Sun (12-20). Technically, the Sun is the only team eliminated from the WNBA’s Eastern Division race. The Mystics (15-17) are riding a two-game losing streak.
Friday’s game is the fifth meeting of the season between the Mystics and Sun. Washington leads the season series, 3-1. The Sun last played against the Mystics Aug. 10 where they won 89-81.
Ivory Latta is leading the Mystics with 12.7 points per game and 3.4 assists. Monique Currie drops 10.1 ppg and Emma Meesseman adds 9.9 ppg and 6.2 rpg. Kia Vaughn leads Washington with 6.4 caroms per game.
Former Maryland All-America Alyssa Thomas starts for Connecticut. She averages nearly 10 points and more than 5 rebounds per contest. Chiney Ogwumike leds the Sun averaging 15.6 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. Katie Douglas averages 13.2 ppg and Alex Bentley averages 11.9 ppg and 3.7 assists.
The Suns weakness is on the bench. The team has six players averaging 10 minutes or less per game. All of each average less than 2 ppg.
ON THE PITCH
The Washington Spirit are living a pretender-to-contender story at the Maryland Soccer Complex. The team is a win or draw away from a 2014 playoff position a year removed from a last-place 3-14-5 conclusion in 2013.
The Spirit close the regular season 6:30 pm Saturday at home against Sky Blue FC. Sky Blue is clinging to a slim playoff hope of its own. Washington needs a win or tie to guarantee its post-season position. If Washington loses, Seattle must beat or draw Portland or Western New York stop Chicago for the Spirit to advance, according to, the National Women’s Soccer League. Washington will be eliminated if they fail to beat SBFC and both Portland and Chicago win their games this weekend.
Jodie Taylor leads Washington in goals with 11. Diana Matheson tops the team with six assists. Ashlyn Harris (10-5-4) may miss the game due to concussion symptoms. If Chantel Jones (0-3-1) starts in net, she will still have Alex Singer, Toni Pressley, Tori Huster and U.S. international Ali Krieger in front of her.