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Tuesday Roundup: Spirit to play at Audi Field

Also in today’s roundup, Kirby and Stoney take home awards, and Huerta named NWSL Player of the Week.

The Washington Spirit will take on the Portland Thorns at Audi Field, the brand-new home of DC United, on August 25, reports Steven Goff of the Washington Post. The 20,000-seat stadium is scheduled to open on July 14, replacing the aging RFK Stadium, and is located in southwest Washington, DC. In contrast, the Maryland SoccerPlex, which the Spirit have called home since the NWSL’s opening day, has a capacity of only 5,200 and is located 30 miles outside of DC.

DC United has played at the SoccerPlex on numerous occasions for US Open Cup matches, and the venue made its MLS debut earlier this year when DC United hosted the Houston Dynamo for their 2018 home opener.

The Spirit are 1-2-1 for the year, sitting in fifth place with four points. They host the Chicago Red Stars this Saturday at the SoccerPlex.

Kirby and Stoney nab PFA awards

The Professional Footballer’s Association, the world’s longest established professional sportsperson’s union, located in the UK, held their annual PFA Awards banquet yesterday, and Casey Stoney and Fran Kirby took home big awards.

Stoney, a centurion and former captain of England’s women’s national soccer team, was given a Special Achievement Award. The former defender retired in February and now assists Phil Neville in coaching the England WNT. She won numerous domestic cups with Charlton Athletic Ladies, and served for one season as a player-manager of Chelsea Ladies. Internationally, Stoney appeared in six major international tournaments and captained Team Great Britain at the 2012 London Olympics.

Fran Kirby was named the women’s Players’ Player of the Year. The striker scored Chelsea Ladies’ first ever Champions League goal, in October 2015, and has been with the squad ever since. Chelsea is currently in the semifinals of this year’s Champions League, having dropped a 1-3 decision to Wolfsburg in the first leg. Internationally, Kirby made her first appearance for England’s senior team in 2014 and scored in both the 2015 World Cup and the 2017 Euros.

Additionally, Kirby was named the first-ever Women’s Footballer of the Year by the Football Writers Association, a UK-based, soccer-focused media association. She won over half of the vote with the Reign’s Jodie Taylor, a former Arsenal player, coming in second. Kirby has scored 22 goals for Chelsea in FAWSL competitions this year, leading them to the top of the table and next week’s final of the 2018 Women’s FA Cup.

Huerta named Player of the Week

Sofia Huerta has been named the Week 4 Player of the Week by the NWSL Media Association. The Red Stars forward dominated the midweek game against Houston, scoring the third goal after several strong attempts. She put in a solid performance as well in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Sky Blue FC, kicking off the scoring in the very first minute of play. It was the second-fastest Red Stars goal and fifth-fastest NWSL goal ever. Huerta has been everywhere for the Red Stars this season, stepping up in the absence of some of the team’s biggest stars, and appears well on her way to a Best XI campaign. She is tied for second in the league for goals scored with two, tied for first in the league with two assists, and is fourth on shots with 11. In five games, Chicago has picked up eight points and sits in second place.

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