A three-week break for the Washington Spirit comes to an end June 10 when the club visits Boston. Washington won the season opener 1-0 on a bicycle kick by midfielder Joanna Lohman. The Spirit’s May 27 date in Houston was postponed due to bad weather.

Boston (1-6) has been awful, according to one who covers the last-place Breakers. Boston has one goal in seven games. It came on a Whitney Engen corner kick, and Engen said she lost sight of the ball in the sun.

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But subs showed some life in a 4-0 loss to Western New York last week. One to keep an eye on is NSWL rookie Eunice Beckmann.

A German international, Beckmann played for Frauen-Bundesliga champs Bayern Munich. She recorded 10 goals in 28 games over three seasons. She put pressure on the Flash as soon as she stepped on the field.

Defense

The Spirit (4-1-1) defense needs to rebound. Washington was routed 4-1 in Portland May 21, the last game.

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Things went south early for the visitors as Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé’s attempted clearance deflected off Spirit defender Alyssa Kleiner and back into the Spirit goal in the first half. Labbé, a Canadian international, and Washington’s vaunted defense suffered a let down.

Coach Jim Gabarra’s attacking offense needs to keep the pressure on. Lohman and Canadian national team member Diana Matheson lead Washington with 3 goals each.

Lohman only scored one in 2014 and 2015. She said the style gives her more opportunities.

Washington returns to the Maryland SoccerPlex June 18 to face the expansion Orlando Pride. Reserved seats are sold out, according to the team, but some general admission tickets are available. The game is expected to be a sellout.

Alive and well

Speaking of attendance, the NWSL reports game ticket sells are up nearly 600 over this time last season ((5,615 to 5,046).

Washington has increased sells more than 500 after three games (3,819 to 3,583). Some thought the league would die when Abby Wambach retired last year. However, between the 2015 World Cup and 2016 Olympics the appeal is growing in the United States.

The league’s new ironwoman streak belongs to Washington’s Christine Nairn. Nairn has appeared in 45 consecutive games dating back to May 3, 2014.

On a final note, Spirit forward Laura del Rio will miss the remainder of the 2016 NWSL season after undergoing surgery to fix a cartilage defect in her left ankle on May 24.

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The Spanish international is expected to miss 4-5 months and has been placed on the season-ending injury list. Del Rio contributed two assists to the Spirit offense.

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