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Spirit Clinch Playoff Spot for Third Straight Year

It wasn’t pretty, but the Washington Spirit — Germantown’s hometown profession women’s soccer team — earned one point in a draw with the Western New York Flash on Saturday night, and that was enough to secure a top-four spot in the post-season. This is the third, straight year the Spirit have made a post-season appearance.

The Spirit and Flash played to a 1-1 draw, in a thrilling match which saw the Spirit take a 1-0 lead in the second half, but the Flash continued unrelenting pressure in the Spirit defensive third. So much, that the Spirit went to five-person back-line in an effort maintain the lead. However, the gambit didn’t pay off as Western New York was able to get the equalizer in the 86th minute.

The Spirit remain in first place in the National Women’s Soccer League with 36 points and a record of 11-3-3, after Saturday’s match in front of 4,527 fans at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

It was apparent early on that the Flash were going to apply pressure to any Spirit player on the ball. “I thought they really put us under a lot of pressure, and we had a lot of trouble grabbing the tempo of the game in the first twenty-five minutes,” said general manager and head coach Jim Gabarra. “But second half I think we rode it out.”

That pressure resulted in Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys recording 12 saves throughout the 90 minutes, several of which were deciding factors in the Spirit securing the draw. Wys came up big, tipping the ball over the crossbar and clearing in crucial moments. In the 37th minute, a cutback cross landed right at the feet of Western New York’