Spirit Fall to Red Stars in 2-1 Thriller
Washington’s Cheyna Williams and Chicago’s Christen Press traded goals in the closing minutes of a 2-1 thriller at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday night, as the visiting Red Stars came away with a narrow win to snap the Spirit’s four-game home unbeaten streak.
After trailing 1-0 at the half, the Spirit battled back to equalize in the 81st minute on Williams’ fourth goal of the season, a point blank header set up by U.S. international Mallory Pugh on a free kick from the edge of the attacking third. Pugh, 19, notched the first assist of her pro career on the play.
Press netted the game-winner for the Red Stars in the 87th minute, slotting the ball into the center of the net from a tough angle along the left side of the box. Julie Ertz, Press’ U.S. international teammate, provided the assist on a long pass up the left side.
Midfielder Kristie Mewis, who was traded to Chicago from Washington just days before, opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, finding the net her first game as a member of the Red Stars on a feed from Danielle Colaprico. Mewis’ shot struck the bottom right corner of the net on a left-footed shot taken from the left side of the box.
Washington controlled the possession battle, holding the ball for 54.2 percent of the match. Spirit midfielder Tori Huster led all players for both teams with 52 total passes. Meggie Dougherty Howard was close behind with 47 total passes, 37 of which came on the attacking side of the field.
The Red Stars outshot the Spirit 9-8 overall, with 4 shots on goal to Washington’s one.
Defensively, Washington’s Estelle Johnson pushed her season interception total to 64, as she and Huster tied for the team lead with four each. Johnson entered the night ranked second in the NWSL with 60.
Next Up: The Washington Spirit will return to the Maryland SoccerPlex on Wednesday, August 30 for a match-up with the league-leading North Carolina Courage. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm. Tickets are available at the Washington Spirit website.
Top: Washington’s Cheyna Williams (20) and Chicago’s Samantha Johnson (16) battle for the ball during Saturday’s game.
Video: Williams scored on the service by Mallory Pugh.
Next: Chicago’s Kristie Mewis (15) scored the first goal of the game. She was on the Spirit until she was traded to Chicago five days before Saturday’s matchup.
Next: Washington goalkeeper Didi Haracic (21) just barley kept this shot out of the net, pushing it up to bounce off the cross bar.
Photos by Germantown Pulse. Video courtesy NWSL.