After a tough loss last week, the Washington Spirit, Germantown’s hometown professional women’s soccer team, got back to their winning ways with a 2-0 shutout of the defending NWSL champs FC Kansas City in front of 3,036 on a beautiful night at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
After a first-half which ended with neither team finding the back of the net, the Spirit made some lineup changes and sparked an offensive onslaught in the second half. The goals came from forward Francisca Ordega in the 79th minute and midfielder Tori Huster in the 85th minute to earn the win and three points for the Spirit.
“I think there was a good energy. We were a lot more organized, and we played well as a group. The second half with the insertion of Franny and Cheyna [Williams] really added some speed and dynamic up front. I think we started moving the ball a little quicker,” said general manager and head coach Jim Gabarra.
Ordega scored the go-ahead goal for the Spirit in the 79th minute. Ordega came off the bench early in the second half and immediately showed off her attacking pace. After several close runs, Ordega finally capitalized. Midfielder Joanna Lohman drilled a shot toward goal in the box, but the shot was deflected by FC Kansas City goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart. The deflection landed right at the feet of Ordega, who put the ball in the lower left-hand corner past the extended arm of FCKC’s goalie Nicole Barnhart.
Six minutes later, Spirit midfielder Christine Nairn lofted a corner kick fell just a few feet from Lohman, who took a shot on goal. Barnhart was not able to get to the shot, but the strike was deflected by the KC defensive line. The rebound came within steps of Huster, who was quick to strike the ball into the top of the net out of Barnhart’s reach to give the Spirit a two-goal lead.
Goalkeeper Kelsey Wys earned her second start and first clean sheet of the season with five saves.
The Washington Spirit improve their record to 6-2-2, with 20 points, are currently in third place in the NWSL with a game in-hand. The Spirit will end a four-game homestand next Saturday, July 9 against the fourth-place Chicago Red Stars. The Red Stars are 5-3-3, with 18 points, and are coming off a 2-0 loss to the surging Western New York Flash on Friday night. The Flash are 7-4-0 with 21 points. The Portland Thorns FC are top in the NWSL with a record of 7-0-5, and 26 points, having played at least one more game than the rest of the league.
Top: Winning Spirit. Tori Huster (23), Megan Oyster (4), Estelle Johnson (24), Joanna Lohman (15), and Alyssa Kleiner (22).
Next Two: Spirit midfielder Tori Huster (23) sets up to strike the rebounded ball into the FCKC goal past goalie Nicole Barnhart (18). The ball soared in the upper corner of the goal past Barnhart.
Next: Spirit midfielder Joanna Lohman (15) makes a play on the ball with FCKC defender Brianne Reed (22) during Saturday night’s 2-0 win.
Next: Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys (18) makes a stop in the first half of Saturday night’s 2-0 victory over FCKC. The game is Wys’ second clean sheet of the 2016 NWSL season.
Next: Spirit defender Caprice Dydasco (2) plays a cross toward the FCKC goal in the second half the Saturday’s match.
Photos by Germantown Pulse.