Bledsoe’s Heroics in Goal Led to Scoreless Draw for Spirit, Seattle
It was the Aubrey Bledsoe show on Saturday night at the Maryland SoccerPlex as the Washington Spirit’s goalkeeper came up big at least four times against the Seattle Reign including stopping a penalty kick from Megan Rapino.
The Washington Spirit and Seattle Reign FC played to a scoreless draw in a thrilling and even contest in front of 3,507 fans at the ‘Plex.
The Spirit (2-7-4) improve to 10 points as Seattle Reign FC (5-2-4) moves to 19 points.
NWSL saves leader Aubrey Bledsoe recorded another strong performance, saving six shots on target from Seattle. Bledsoe recorded several massive saves in the second half including a save on a penalty kick from Megan Rapinoe in the 52nd minute.
Bledsoe recorded three highlight saves in the 70th, 81st, and 86th minutes to help preserve her fourth clean sheet of the season.
The back four of Caprice Dydasco, Rebecca Quinn, Estelle Johnson, and Taylor Smith had a strong performance stopping the potent Seattle Reign FC attack. The back four combination saw the field together for the first time as Whitney Church missed action for the first time this season for Washington.
The Spirit outshot Seattle in total shots, nine to seven. Washington recorded several scoring opportunities including the last chance for either side in the contest five minutes into second half stoppage time. Francisca Ordega found Andi Sullivan on a cross who was unable to hit the target and her shot went high. Sullivan led the Spirit with five shots.
Two of the best first half opportunities for Washington was orchestrated by Rose Lavelle who started for Washington for the first time in her career. In the 26th minute, Lavelle gained possession in the midfield and dribbled solo deep into Seattle territory and distributed to Estefania Banini. Banini’s shot went just wide of the post.
Banini recorded a shot on goal in the 57th minute in what started a frantic few minutes of near opportunities for the Spirit. Sullivan recorded shots in the 59th and 66th minutes including a header that went just wide with her latter shot.
Rapinoe for Seattle had a game high seven shots, three of which were on target. Goalkeeper Lydia Williams recorded two saves in Seattle’s third consecutive game without conceding a goal.
Seattle Reign FC remains in second place, as Washington stays in eighth place. Teams ranked second through eighth are separated by less than 10 points in NWSL standings.
The Washington Spirit returns home Saturday, June 23 when the team faces the Orlando Pride in a nationally televised contest on ESPNews. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm from the Maryland SoccerPlex
Top: Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe stopped a penalty kick from Seattle’s Megan Rapino in the 52nd minute to preserve her second straight clean sheet. Bledsoe came up big numerous times for the Spirit in Saturday’s game at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Video: Bledoe stops Rapino’s PK in the 52nd minute.
Next: Early in game Spirit midfielder Tori Huster (23) was just short of connecting on a through ball at the top of the box.
Next: In the 26th minute, Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle (16) gained possession in the midfield and dribbled solo deep into Seattle territory.
Next: Bledsoe had to get high to snag a Seattle free kick which was trailing into the goal late in the game to preserve the clean sheet.
Photos by Germantown Pulse, video courtesy Washington Spirit and NWSL.