Washington Spirit Shuts Out Houston, Pugh Nets First Goal as Professional
The Washington Spirit earned a 2-0 win over the visiting Houston Dash in front of 3,096 fans on Saturday evening at the Maryland SoccerPlex. A third minute strike from forward Cheyna Wiliams opened the scoring for the Spirit, and 19-year-old US international Mallory Pugh netted her historic first professional goal in the 69th minute in just her second career start.
Williams found the net for the first time this season on one of the opening possessions of the game, receiving a perfectly-placed through ball from Havana Solaun and bursting into the box before sending a low shot past Dash goalkeeper Lydia Williams inside the far post. Solaun, who leads the Spirit with three goals scored on the season, notched her first assist of the season on the play.
Pugh added the second half insurance goal for Washington, receiving a well-timed pass from Kristie Mewis on the left side of the box and firing a shot through the legs of the keeper. Solaun, who threaded the ball into Mewis, was credited with the second assist on the play.
Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé piled up eight saves in the victory, as she and the Washington back line recorded their first clean sheet of the season. The Canadian international and 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medalist now leads the NWSL with 39 saves on the season.
In a strong two-way performance, rookie Arielle Ship led the Spirit with 10 tackles. Defender Alyssa Kleiner had a team-high eight clearances, while Shelina Zadorsky and Williams tied for the team lead with three interceptions each. Meggie Dougherty Howard led Washington’s field players with 39 total passes. Pugh’s four total shots and two on-target attempts were both team-highs for the Spirit.