Joanna Lohman, the Washington Spirit’s most experienced player who enjoyed a terrific 2016 season, tore her left anterior cruciate ligament in the National Women’s Soccer League opener Saturday. She is the fourth member from last year’s finalists in the past eight months to suffer the same serious knee injury.
She’ll join three teammates rehabbing ACL injuries: Forward Cali Farquharson was injured in an NWSL match in September, defender Caprice Dydasco went down in the championship game in October and goalkeeper Kelsey Wys tore the ligament in November while on loan to an Australian club. Farquharson and Dydasco are expected back this summer, while Wys is out until at least August.
Also, a few weeks after being traded by the Spirit to Seattle this winter, midfielder Diana Matheson tore an ACL while training with the Canadian national team.
Lohman appeared in all 20 regular season matches last year, starting 17 and scoring four goals. It was her second season with the Spirit after two with the Boston Breakers. Previously, she played for the Washington Freedom and Philadelphia Independence in Women’s Professional Soccer, the NWSL’s predecessor. Lohman has also performed with clubs in Sweden, Spain and Cyprus.
“It’s extremely unfortunate,” Coach Jim Gabarra said. “Joanna worked incredibly hard during the offseason and was poised for another excellent year.”
With her local roots, engaging personality and distinctive hair style (“The JoHawk”), the Springbrook High and Penn State graduate has been among the team’s most popular figures. In the aftermath of several high-profile departures this winter, the Spirit had turned to Lohman, among others, to serve as the face of the franchise.
Washington will resume the campaign Saturday in Orlando against former captain Ali Krieger and the Pride (4 p.m., Lifetime).
Video of Lohman’s injury seconds before North Carolina scored: