Washington Spirit's Andi Sullivan Tears Meniscus, Out for Rest of NWSL Challenge Cup

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Washington Spirit captain Andi Sullivan will miss the remainder of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup after suffering a torn medial meniscus during Sunday's match against the Houston Dash, the team announced Monday

Sullivan is set to return to Washington, D.C., for arthroscopic knee surgery on Thursday.

The 24-year-old's injury occurred Sunday when she came out of a sprint to make a play. Following the game, an MRI at a nearby hospital revealed the tournament-ending injury. The Spirit said Sullivan is expected to miss three to six months. 

"I'm obviously disappointed to not be out there playing, but I'm excited to watch the rest of the tournament and I'm hoping to see my team win it all in the end," Sullivan said in a statement. 

Sullivan, the first overall pick in the 2018 NWSL college draft out of Stanford, faced a similar setback in 2016 when she tore her left anterior cruciate ligament during the NCAA Tournament. During the 2019 season, she started in 23 matches and scored two goals for the Spirit. She has also appeared for the U.S. women's national team.

Spirit coach Richie Burke said the team is rallying around their captain and will be playing in her honor.

"I'm coming to terms with losing such an influential player for the tournament, but my main thoughts are with Andi and her rehabilitation process," Burke said. "I'm super confident that she will return quickly from this injury as a better, stronger player."

The Spirit have gone 2–1–1 in the Challenge Cup's preliminary round. Against the Dash, the Spirit's Bayley Feist scored in the 16th minute, giving the team a 1–0 win. The team currently sits in second place out of the eight teams, having played all four of its game prior to the knockout bracket.