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Spirit break out, beat Reign for first win

Lori Lindsey (foreground) and the Spirit exploded for four goals to earn their first NWSL victory.

The Washington Spirit broke out with four goals to earn their first NWSL victory, 4-2 over Seatte Reign FC in front of 1,011 at Starfire Stadium on Thursday night.  The struggling clubs exchanged goals over the first 47minutes before Tiffany McCarty netted the game-winner in the 56th minute.  Diana Matheson, Ali Krieger, and Tori Huster also scored for the Spirit.

Reign coach Laura Harvey made wholesale changes following Saturday night’s poor showing at Sky Blue FC.  Keelin Winters and Elli Reed both sat out through injury while Canadians Emily Zurrer and Kaylyn Kyle were benched.  Unfortunately for the Reign another injury emerged in the opening 15 minutes when Kate Deines hobbled off, replaced by Zurrer.

The Reign led 1-0 at the time of Deines’s injury.  Lindsay Taylor put them ahead by taking down a pass from Kristina Larsen and patiently turning near the top of the 18.  The 6th minute goal snapped a 292-minute scoreless drought for the Reign.

The Spirit began controlling more of the match at the half hour mark and on 35 minutes Matheson slipped off Zurrer and collected what should have been a harmless ball and beat Michelle Betos for her 4th goal of the season.  The Spirit added another in the 40th when Lori Lindsey won a free kick just above the penalty area and began the scoring sequence with a gorgeous free kick.  Betos made the save, then another save, but the third try was an easy header for Krieger.

The Reign tied it again early in the 2nd half when Christine Nairn lofted a cross over the defender where Teresa Noyola headed it from the far post back where it came from, far out of Ashlyn Harris’s reach.

It was game on at 2-2 but the Spirit took things from there.  Matheson passed to McCarty at the top of the box and McCarty beat three starry-eyed defenders to get enough space to make it 3-2 at 56 minutes.  In the 84th a Zurrer foul put Lindsey over another free kick and Huster got on the end of it, beating an out of position Betos.

Reign – Taylor, 6th
Spirit – Matheson, 35th
Spirit – Krieger, 40th
Reign – Noyola, 47th
Spirit – McCarty, 56th
Spirit – Huster, 84th

Spirit:  Harris (GK), Krieger, Huster, Gayle, Hodak, Roberts, Matheson, Wells, Lindsey, McCarty, Ochs
Reign:  Betos (GK), Dallstream, Ruiz, Deines, Barnes, Fishlock, Larsen, Noyola, Taylor, Bogus, Nairn

Attendance:  1,011



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