The Washington Spirit (4-9-3, 15 pts) fell 3-0 on the road Tuesday night to the Orlando Pride (6-6-5, 23 pts).
Following a scoreless first half, Orlando netted three straight goals in a 13-minute span, shortly after the intermission. Washington forward Cheyna Williams recorded a team-high five shots, as she and several other players generate scoring chances throughout the game, but ultimately the Spirit attack was unable to break through.
“It’s another tough result that's not really indicative of how we played,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “I was happy with how we played at times, but we really didn't do well with what we needed to do for the whole game. Orlando was able to finish a few of their chances, and unfortunately we weren't able to make that final pass to put us in on goal.”
Brazilian international Marta opened the scoring for the Pride in the 52nd minute on an assist from U.S. international Alex Morgan, hitting a right-footed shot into the center of the goal after receiving a short range cross.
In the 57th minute, another Brazilian born player, Camila, doubled the Pride’s lead with an unassisted strike, chipping a recovered loose ball from over 30 yards away into the bottom right corner.
Morgan finished off the scoring in the 64th minute, firing a shot into the top right corner of the net on an assist from Stephanie Catley.
Washington’s Kassey Kallman led the defense with four clearances and two blocked shots, while Caprice Dydasco had a team-high six tackles, and Tori Huster and Whitney Church each made three interceptions.
Huster, who played the full 90 minutes in the Spirit midfield, led all players for both teams with 50 total passes, 37 of which came on the attacking side of the field. Dydasco finished second on the team with 45 total passes, while Kallman’s 97.3 percent accuracy on her 37 pass attempts was the highest for the Spirit.
Spirit forward Mallory Pugh made her return to the lineup after coming back from international duty with the U.S. Women’s National Team, playing 72 minutes in a starting role and recording one shot. Argentine international forward Estefanía Banini subbed in for Pugh in the 73rd minute, making her first appearance since returning from a hamstring injury.
The Spirit got more unfortunate news this week as midfielder Line Sigvardsen Jensen, who played a vital role for the Denmark National Team, was lost for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.
Sigvardsen Jensen played the full 90 minutes in each of Denmark’s three group games during the Dane’s historic run in the 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO, including the team’s 2-1 quarterfinal victory over six-time defending UEFA Women’s EURO champion Germany. She started a fifth straight game in the semifinals against Austria, but unfortunately had to come off in the 68th minute with a right knee injury, later diagnosed as a torn ACL.
The injury brings the 25-year-old’s NWSL season to an early end, as she finishes the 2017 campaign with 568 minutes played across nine appearances, including six starts. She scored the Spirit’s first goal of the season on April 22 in a 1-1 draw against the Orlando Pride, and recorded an assist on May 8 in a 4-3 home win against Sky Blue FC.
“We're all really disappointed for Line. She's done such a great job for our club and for her country this year,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “We feel her disappointment in not being able to play for Denmark in the EURO Final, and also the Spirit for the remainder of this year. We're confident she'll make a full recovery and come back as strong as ever.”
With Tuesday’s game in Orlando finishing off a streak of four in a row on the road, the Spirit will return home to the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday, August 12 to host the Boston Breakers in the NWSL Lifetime Game of the Week.
Top: Washington Spirit defender Kassey Kallman led the defense with four clearances and two blocked shots.
Next: Spirit midfielder Tori Huster had three interceptions in Tuesdays loss to Orlando.
Next: More bad news for the Spirit as Line Sigvardsen Jensen suffered a torn ACL while playing in the 2017 UEFA Women’s EURO for the Denmark National Team.
File photos by Germantown Pulse.