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Spirit’s Draw Hurts Home Playoff Hopes, Despite Dunn’s Double

With a playoff spot clinched, the Washington Spirit travelled to the northwest to face US Women’s National Team superstar Alex Morgan and the Portland Thorns for the second part of a two game road trip.

While the Spirit came out flying high off two first half-goals, they had to settle for their sixth tie of the season, bringing their overall record to 8-5-6 for a total of 30 points. The Spirit are 5-1-5 since May 23 as the final game of the regular season approaches this Saturday, Sept. 5 at 7 pm versus the league leading Seattle Reign.

While last night’s draw doesn’t affect the team’s locked up playoff spot, it hurts their chances of earning a home playoff game at the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown. To get a home playoff game, the Spirit will have to beat the Reign, and hope that Chicago falls to Houston on Sunday.

In a game which was televised nationally on Fox Sports 1, the Spirit’s Crystal Dunn continued to show why she is the most dynamic and exciting player in the NWSL. Dunn started the night by setting up teammate Franny Ordega with a pass on the left side of the Reign goal. Ordega took a couple touches before putting the ball between the legs of Reign goalkeeper Nadine Angerer and into the goal. Ordega’s strike gave the Spirit a 1-0 lead in the 6th minute.

Dunn doubled the Spirit’s advantage during the two minutes of stoppage time in the first half. Dunn leapt up to connect with a corner kick struck by midfielder Christine Nairn. Dunn’s glancing header redirected the ball just enough to send it beyond Angerer to the Spirit a 2-0 lead at the close of the first half.

The Thorns came back from the half and established control in the second half. The Thorn’s first goal came in the 53rd minute when Alex Morgan chipped the ball over Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris. It was Morgan’s first goal of the season for the Thorns.

Later in the half, Tobin Heath streaked toward goal and collided with Spirit centerback Estelle Johnson. The referee awarded Heath a PK and the Thorns went up 2-1 after Heath successfully converted the penalty kick. Thorns forward Jodie Taylor tallied the Thorns third goal in the 80th minute as she toe-poked a headed ball from Morgan.

It would be Dunn who would equalize the score seconds later bringing the score to 3-3. Dunn made a turn on a Thorns defender and slid a well-placed ball beyond the reach of Angerer to score her NWSL leading 15th goal on the season.

The will Spirit return home for their final game of the season against Seattle Reign FC on September 5 at 7:00 pm at Maureen Hendricks Field in the Maryland SoccerPlex in Germantown. A Spirit win, and a loss by Chicago will give the Spirit the team’s first ever home playoff game, as the team continues its push toward a NWSL championship.

Caption: Crystal Dunn (19), who had two goals and an assist in last night’s draw against Portland, is shown ball handling in the Spirit’s earlier game versus Portland at the Maryland SoccerPlex on May 30, 2015.

Photo by Germantown Pulse