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Spirit Remain Atop League Despite Loss in New Jersey

Despite a 1-0 road loss to regional rival, Sky Blue FC on Saturday night the Washington Spirit remain atop the National Women’s Soccer League standings. The game was the first half of a home-and-home series with Sky Blue.

The Spirit remain tied at the top of the league with Portland Thorns FC by virtue of the Spirit having two games-in-hand over the Thorns and the Thorns not having a game in the schedule last weekend. After the loss to Sky Blue FC the Spirit are 8-3-2 with 26 points.

The only goal of the Spirit match against Sky Blue FC came from English international and Sky Blue rookie Leah Galton in the 24th minute. Sky Blue’s Erin Simon played a ball to Galton that she ran up the left flank. Galton beat the Spirit’s defenders to position herself close enough to the net to take a shot. She drilled the ball from an angle in the box that was nearly impossible for Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys to get a hand on, and the ball found the back of the net.

It was Galton threatening again in the 55th minute, as she found space on the left side and sent in a cross that had Wys beat, but defender Caprice Dydasco was able to clear the ball out for a corner.

In the 59th minute, the Spirit saw its best chance when Cheyna Williams advanced one on one with Sky Blue goalkeeper Caroline Casey. She sent a powered shot toward the net, but Sky Blue defender Erica Skroski was able to get a foot on it, sending the ball toward the crossbar. The ball deflected back into play and was collected by Spirit midfielder Joanna Lohman who took a shot, but the Sky Blue defense was able to control the ball until Casey collected it.

This Saturday, July 30, the Spirit will face Sky Blue in a rematch at the Maryland SoccerPlex for the second half of the home-and-home series. The game will also be the final regular-season match between the two teams.

The game, which is the second-to-last Spirit home game of the season, is also the first game in which it will be legal for fans to enjoy alcoholic beverages at their seats. Previously, fans had to consume beer and wine in the SoccerPlex’s Beer Garden.

Caption: Spirit rookie Cheyna Williams (20) with the ball in the offense third of the pitch during a recent match at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

Photo by Germantown Pulse