Washington Spirit head coach Mark Parsons made two significant announcements Wednesday, stating on a national conference call that goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris has been fully cleared after missing the last two games with a concussion and that forward Lisa De Vanna won’t travel for Sunday’s semifinal vs. Seattle Reign FC.
Harris will almost certainly start for the Spirit in Sunday night’s semifinal in Seattle. She last played August 9 against the Red Stars, when she made the save of the year on Christen Press to keep the match tied. Yael Averbuch later won it with a stoppage time goal and that result stands as the difference in the Spirit being in the playoffs instead of the Red Stars.
De Vanna will not travel with the team when they fly to Seattle on Friday morning. And if the Spirit upset the Reign in Sunday night’s semifinal, the coach does not expect to bring De Vanna to the final.
“She’s a fiery player, everyone in the game knows that. She wants to win,” Parsons said in response to a question about De Vanna appearing frustrated late in matches. “She has made a huge impact for us since coming here and we’re grateful for that. I’ve decided that she won’t be traveling this weekend. Unfortunately we made a decision that we won’t include her. Those reasons are us making the best decision for the team, for this game, and for the rest of the playoffs.”
The Spirit acquired De Vanna from the Breakers in June in exchange for Bianca Sierra. The Australian international played for Sky Blue FC last season, and for the Washington Freedom in WPS. Her bicycle kick goal for Sky Blue on June 1, 2013, against the Breakers is widely considered the best goal in the two-year history on NWSL.
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