Around Washington, the Redskins and the Nationals get most of the sports attention in August. The Nats play a baseball game almost every day. And a Redskins preseason football game that doesn’t even count in the NFL standings is treated almost like the Super Bowl.
Although it may not seem like it, there are other Washington professional sports teams playing right now. Let’s take a look at them.
The Mystics: The Washington Mystics are set to make the Women’s National Basketball Association playoffs for the second year in a row. With the regular season ending this weekend, they have a record of 15-17 (15 wins and 17 losses). That’s not great, but it’s good enough to be tied for second place in their conference.
Coach Mike Thibault has the Mystics moving in the right direction . . . away from the bad old days not so long ago when they were at the bottom of the WNBA. Now, the Mystics are a tough, hardworking team that leads the league in defense and is second in rebounding.
Veteran point guard Ivory Latta leads a balanced scoring attack. Five Mystics players average at least nine points a game.
The Mystics may not be world-beaters. They’re not ready for WNBA powers such as the Phoenix Mercury or the Minnesota Lynx. But they are getting better.
D.C. United: Talk about getting better. D.C. United is getting much better.
Last season, the team was a disaster. United won only three of its 34 Major League Soccer (MLS) games. Their total of 22 goals was the lowest in the league.
Lots of local soccer fans thought the team might fire head coach Ben Olsen. Instead, United kept Olsen and got some new players.
Forwards Fabian Espindola (seven goals), Eddie Johnson (four goals) and midfielder Luis Silva (five goals) give the team a much better attack. D.C. United has netted 32 goals in 22 games so far this season. In soccer, when a team can score, it has a chance. Now, D.C. United has a chance.
Washington Spirit: The Spirit is the other pro soccer team around Washington. The team, which is in the nine-team National Women’s Soccer League, plays at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown. The Spirit is in third place with a record of 10-8-5 (10 wins, eight losses and five ties). One more win will allow the team to make the playoffs.
Just like D.C. United, the Spirit has pulled itself up from rock bottom. In 2013, the team finished in last place, winning only three of 22 games.
So check out the Spirit . . . and the Mystics and D.C. United. There is more to the Washington pro sports scene than just the Redskins and Nationals.