Spirit Comes Up Just Short, Again, in 1-0 Loss to Houston
After the torrential rains of Saturday forced the match to be postponed until Sunday morning, the Washington Spirit and the Houston Dash finally were able to play in the short time span when it wasn’t raining in Germantown this week.
The game was played in scattered sunlight at 10:00 am on Sunday morning, but the bright sunlight didn’t seem to brighten the Spirit’s future any, as they lost yet another game by one goal. The Spirit have not lost seven of their 12 losses by one goal, and played to four draws this season.
Houston (6-7-5) gains three points with the win and improves to 23 points on the season. Washington drops to 2-12-4 (10 points) on the season. The match was pushed back 15 hours from the originally slated kickoff time of 7:00 pm Saturday evening but was postponed until Sunday at 10:00 am due to the field conditions being unplayable Saturday.
A third minute goal from Rachel Daly was the difference in the contest. Daly connected on a volley played into the box by Sofia Huerta and placed her shot just past the charging Aubrey Bledsoe in goal for the Spirit. Daly netted her third goal of the season against Washington.
After the goal, the game’s momentum quickly turned. The Spirit statistically dominated the remainder of the contest, owning 58.8 percent of the possession. The Spirit outshot the Dash 24 to 10, and placed nine shots on target compared to Houston’s two shots on goal. Washington completed over 140 more passes than Houston.
Spirit head coach Jim Gabarra deployed a new look 3-1-4-2 lineup against Houston with a back-three of Tori Huster, Estelle Johnson, and Rebecca Quinn from left to right with Andi Sullivan playing a defensive midfield role ahead of the three defenders. The duo of Caprice Dydasco and Taylor Smith played as outside midfielders and maintained a key role on both offense and defense. Meggie Dougherty Howard and Estefania Banini started the game in central midfield behind Ashley Hatch and Francisca Ordega up top.
After conceding the early goal, Washington nearly equalized in the 8th minute. Smith’s initial shot down the right side was saved which bounced to Banini. Banini’s off-balanced shot was also saved by Houston goalkeeper Jane Campbell, her first two of nine saves in the game.
Smith had another chance in the 25th minute, but was once again had her shot saved by Campbell. Hatch in the 31st minute and Dydasco in the 32nd minute each narrowly missed scoring for the Spirit.
The Spirit nearly equalized once again in the 81st minute on a rocket off the right foot of Hatch. Once again, the Houston goalkeeper Campbell’s full extension save kept Washington off the scoreboard.
In the 85th minute, on one of the Spirit’s 11 corner kicks, a short ball played to Dydasco then served in found the head of Spirit substitute Havana Solaun, where her header went inches wide of the post.
Hatch led the team with a season-high seven shots, two of which were on target. Johnson led the team in both clearances (five) and blocks (two).
The Spirit hits the road for another three-game road trip beginning Sunday, August 5 at Seattle Reign FC. The team returns home Wednesday, August 22 for a 7:30 pm kickoff against Utah Royals FC
Top: In the 85th minute, a short ball played to Dydasco then served in found the head of Spirit substitute Havana Solaun (9), but her header went inches wide of the post.
Next: In the 81st minute the Spirit almost scored on a rocket off the right foot of Ashley Hatch (33).
Photos by Germantown Pulse.