The Washington Spirit (0-1-0, 0 pts) fell 2-1 to Seattle Reign FC (1-0-0, 3 pts) on Saturday night to open the 2018 National Women’s Soccer League regular season. The Spirit are back in Maryland preparing for what is expected to be a packed Plex on March 31.
After falling behind by two goals in the first half, Washington battled back to cut Seattle’s lead down to one in the 68th minute, when midfielder Joanna Lohman found the net off an assist from Argentine international Estefania Banini.
Lohman’s second half strike came following a quick pass from U.S. international forward Mallory Pugh to Banini near the top of the box, before Banini weaved another short pass in to Lohman, who made a quick turn and fired a shot which hit the inside of the far post and over the goalline.
Lohman, who entered as a substitute for Tori Huster at the start of the second half, played in her first regular season game since recovering from a torn ACL, sustained in the Spirit’s 2017 season opener last April.
Huster, who started the game in the midfield, notched her 100th regular season appearance with the Spirit.
Seattle found the net twice in the opening half, before the Washington defense held the Reign off the board the entire second half.
U.S. international forward Megan Rapinoe had a hand in both goals, starting with her own strike off a free kick in the seventh minute. Rapinoe went on to assist Jodie Taylor’s goal in the 35th minute, doubling Seattle’s lead heading into halftime.
After mustering only two shots on target in the first 45 minutes, Washington racked up seven in the second half, while holding over 55 percent of the possession time.
Saturday’s game also marked the professional debut of U.S. international midfielder Andi Sullivan, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NWSL College Draft. Sullivan played the full 90 minutes in the Spirit midfield, recording three total shots, two of which were on frame.
Sullivan tied with Pugh, Lohman and U.S. international forward Ashley Hatch for the team lead with two shots on goal each.
Also making her Spirit debut, goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe piled up 10 saves on the night.
The Spirit announced this week that less than 400 reserved seats remain for this weekend’s Home Opener against the Orlando Pride. Single game tickets for the Spirit’s regular season home games, including their March 31 home opener against the Orlando Pride, are available now at Tickets.WashingtonSpirit.com or by calling the club’s ticket office at 301-591-0927.
Photos and videos courtesy Washington Spirit and NWSL.