Depleted Spirit Earn 1-1 Road Draw at Chicago
The Washington Spirit (2-5-2, 8 pts) picked up a point in a 1-1 draw on the road against the Chicago Red Stars (5-2-2, 17 pts) in Saturday afternoon’s NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week played in front of 3,189 fans at Toyota Park.
Washington earned at least one point for the second week in a row, following up on the team’s 2-0 shutout win over the Houston Dash in its previous game on June 3. Chicago extended its’ current unbeaten streak to six games, but the Spirit ended the second place Red Stars’ three-game winning streak.
“It was a really good team performance, I thought we came out as a team and played well,” said Spirit Head Coach and General Manager Jim Gabarra. “Everybody’s disappointed we didn't get the three points. It’s a tough place to play.”
The Spirit continue to deal with an ever shifting lineup due injuries. U.S. Women’s Team standout and NWSL rookie 19-year-old Mallory Pugh did not play due an injury suffered in last week’s USWNT friendly. Veteran midfielder Tori Huster continues to recover from injury. Veteran forward Katie Stengel is also out with injury.
Nigerian national team forward Francisca Ordega scored her third goal of the season on an assist from Cheyna Williams in the 42nd minute to give the Spirit a 1-0 halftime lead. Williams connected with Ordega on a through ball as Ordega was on a dead sprint up the middle of the field, beating the final defender and maneuvering around Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher before slotting the ball into the left side of the net from close range.
Chicago equalized in the 82nd minute on a penalty kick earned and converted by U.S. international Christen Press. Spirit center back Shelina Zadorsky was called for the foul on Press while defending her on a run up the middle through the final third.
Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé was credited with three saves while also playing an active role cutting off crosses and runs into the box. Labbé’s day was highlighted by a one-handed diving save made in the 51st minute, when she knocked away a Vanessa Di Bernardo shot headed inside the post.
Kassey Kallman and Whitney Church led the Spirit back line with six interceptions each, as Kallman also led the way with five clearances. Estelle Johnson had a team-high three tackles while adding three clearances, three interceptions and a blocked shot.
Havana Solaun led all Spirit players with 40 total passes, 29 of which were on the attacking side of the field.
Spirit defender Caprice Dydasco made her 2017 NWSL debut, entering as a substitute for Alyssa Kleiner in the 61st minute. It was Dydasco’s first time suiting up for a match since she tore her ACL in the 2016 NWSL Championship on October 9.
Washington returns home to the SoccerPlex for its next game on June 24 against Portland Thorns FC. https://tickets.washingtonspirit.com/#/event-list
Top: Washington Spirit defender Shelina Zadorsky. File Photo by Germantown Pulse.
Video: Spirit forward Francisca Ordega scored her third goal of the season on an assist from Cheyna Williams in the 42nd minute to give the Spirit a 1-0 halftime lead.
Next: Franny Ordega. File photo by Germantown Pulse.
Video: Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé was credited with three saves including this one on a shot by Chicago’s Vanessa Di Bernardo.
Next: Alyssa Kleiner. File photo by Germantown Pulse.
Video courtesy NWSL