The blows keep coming for the Washington Spirit this offseason. USWNT forward Crystal Dunn has left the team to join Chelsea Ladies of the FAWSL.
While Dunn did not produce much on the stats sheet for the Spirit in the regular season, the forward came alive late in the season to help Washington reach the championship game. Dunn will be in Europe for the upcoming season and will not return for the second half of the NWSL season.
With the departure of Dunn and Argentine forward Estefania Banini and an ACL injury for forward Cali Farquharson, the front line is looking very thin headed into the 2017 season for Jim Gabarra’s squad. Midfielder Christine Nairn was traded earlier this offseason to the Seattle Reign which means that the players responsible for roughly a third of the goals last season will be gone.
The Spirit will definitely have major holes to fill in its attack, but a great sign is the play of forwards Katie Stengel and Francisca Ordega in the Australian W-League. Stengel has scored five goals for the Western Sydney Wanderers in eight games so far this season. Ordega, who just recently joined Sydney FC, has one goal in three games. One would think that these two would shoulder most of the load heading into the 2017 season.
Dunn’s departure is tough for the Spirit to handle right now, especially with all the other moves that have happened so far. However, this is the best time for Dunn to explore ways to improve her game. With there not being a major tournament this year, Dunn is able to go to Europe without losing too much time with the national team.
All in all, this is not all bad for the Spirit. Thanks to a deep roster from last season, this might not be the end of the world. Still, Spirit fans have to hope though that this is the last major departure of this offseason if they want any chance at staying off the bottom of the table.