Washington Spirit forward Arielle Ship scored a 71st minute goal in her second appearance since returning from a torn ACL as the club earned a 1-1 draw against Sky Blue FC on Sunday morning.
Washington’s season finale kicked off at 10:00 am on Sunday morning after the match was postponed Saturday night due to thunderstorms around the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Following a scoreless first half, Washington struck first in the 71st minute when Ship cleaned up a loose ball in the box, finishing the Spirit’s third chance on the play with a tap-in after an initial shot by Francisca Ordega was saved, and a second attempt by Ship was also saved.
Sky Blue equalized in the 87th minute on a long distance blast by Sarah Killion taken from outside the box. Madison Tiernan provided the assist on the play with a pass back to Killion, who powered a shot into the top left corner of the net.
Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe stopped five of the six shots on target that she faced, finishing the season with an NWSL record 108 saves. Her fourth save of the match pushed her past Chicago’s Alyssa Naeher for the most in a single season, with a mark of 106 set in 2014.
Bledsoe’s five-save outing was an eventful one, starting with a tough diving save in the fifth minute on a close range shot by Tiernan taken from the center of the box.
Bledsoe and the Spirit also benefited from a missed penalty kick in the 27th minute, as Shea Groom’s attempt struck the front of the crossbar before being cleared away.
Washington and Sky Blue each put six shots on frame in Sunday’s draw, as Ordega led all players with three on-target shots. Ordega, Sky Blue’s Jennifer Hoy and Groom tied for the most total shots with five each.
The Spirit’s starting lineup featured three National Team Replacement Players, including Zoe Clark, Megan Crosson and Tiffany McCarty. Another national team replacement, Alexa Newfield, made her Spirit debut in the 70th minute when she came in for McCarty.
Top: Spirit forward Cali Farquharson battles with Sky Blue FC defender Domi Ricardson during Sunday’s finale to the 2018 NWSL season at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Video: A field level view of Arielle Ship’s go ahead goal.
Photo and video courtesy Washington Spirit.