The Washington Spirit earned three huge points in the standings last night with 2-1 victory over Chicago to keep pace with the league leaders as the NWSL postseason looms.
The NWSL scoring leader, Crystal Dunn, came up huge again with the game winning goal in stoppage time to get her 14th goal of the season and sixth game winner this year.
The Spirit were playing their third game in 10 days Sunday night in Chicago against the hometown Chicago Red Stars. The game was a make-up of an earlier game which was postponed due to severe weather back on June 20.
The Spirit got things started early as a Christine Nairn corner kick connected with the head of rookie center back Megan Oyster for a goal in the third minute, to give Washington a 1-0 lead. The goal was Oyster’s first goal as pro. Oyster also scored in the ill-fated June match against Chicago that was canceled due to weather, as a result the goal never official counted.
Spirit front line of Crystal Dunn, Francisca Ordega, and Haley Raso applied pressure in the Spirit attacking third for most of the game, and kept the Red Stars on their heels.
The Red Stars pulled level in the 82nd minute after second half substitute Melissa Tancredi headed the ball by Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys. Just a minute later Wys came up huge with save to keep the score level after Abby Erceg’s header off the corner careened toward the Spirit goal.
Neither the Spirit nor the Red Stars had their US Women’s National team players available due to the USWNT Victory Tour game against Costa Rico, which was played in Pittsburgh earlier on Sunday after noon. USWNT won 8-0 with Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris getting the shut out win.
Crystal Dunn’s ended the stalemate in stoppage time. Dunn drove in toward goal from the right side, weaving through multiple Red Stars before slipping a bouncing ball across the box and inside the post to give the Spirit a crucial 2-1 victory.
After the victory, the Spirit, which are 8-5-4, are currently tied with Chicago in second place in the NWSL at 28 points. They both trail league leading Seattle Reign. Next week, the Spirit are on the road again versus FC Kansas City on August 27.
Caption: Crystal Dunn breaks away from a Chicago Red Star in the game at the Maryland SoccerPlex in July. Photo by Germantown Pulse.