The Washington Spirit fell to the visiting Chicago Red Stars Wednesday 2-0 on a pair of second half goals. For the third straight match, the Spirit kept their opponent scoreless in the first half only to lose the clean sheet in the second.
Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris kept the score level in the 8th minute when she made a diving save on a penalty kick by Inka Grings. Chicago was awarded the penalty kick after Candace Chapman was called for a handball in the box.
Washington’s best chance of the half came in the 14th minute. Diana Matheson launched a shot from 30 yards out that forced Chicago’s Erin McLeod to make a diving save.
After a scoreless first half, Spirit head coach Mark Parsons made the decision to bring defender Kika Toulouse on for midfielder Lupita Worbis to start the second. Ali Krieger moved to midfield and Toulouse slotted in at right back.
“She’s obviously great in 1 v 1 areas and great on the ball and delivers very well,” Parson stated about moving Krieger forward. “We wanted to show that we were going to come out and go after it and really try to put them on the back foot which happened for the first 10 minutes and then Chicago rebuilt.”
Despite their efforts to push forward, Washington failed to notch a goal for the second straight week. Washington’s inability to connect passes continues to stymie their attack. While the team managed 5 shots on goal in the course of the match, many of those shots were from long range and were easily handled by McLeod.
Adriana Leon scored the game winner in the 63rd minute. After some fancy footwork, Leon sent bending shot into the far side of the Spirit net.
Second half substitute Ella Masar added another goal in 71st minute to give the Red Stars the two goal advantage. Leon bicycled the ball towards net and Masar tapped it in for the score.
The Spirit’s most dangerous chances came in the late stages in the match. Their best chance for a goal may have been in the 87th minute when a cross by Kika Toulouse was blocked but fell right to Pohlers. Pohlers then sent a rocket towards goal but the shot skimmed off the crossbar.
The Red Stars are now just one point behind the Boston Breakers for fifth place and five points behind the Flash for the last playoff spot. Ella Masar commented on the importance of the win post game, “It’s a huge swing for us, that’s six points (speaking of last week’s win against the Flash) and then if we win on Sunday against Kansas, that’s us fighting for fourth place. We know we had to win 8 out of 10 games and that’s what we are fighting for.”
The Spirit meanwhile will head out to the west coast to face the Seattle Reign Sunday. Washington earned their only win of the season against the Reign. Sunday’s contest will likely prove more difficult for the Spirit however, as Hope Solo and Megan Rapinoe have since then been added to Seattle’s roster. The Spirit game against the Reign will be the first game league game televised by Fox Soccer.
- Attendance for the match was 2,593.
- Ali Krieger spent the second half as an attacking midfielder. Also of note: Lori Lindsey was subbed out in the 72nd minute. With the team’s captain out, Diana Matheson received the armband.
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