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Late penalty gives Spirit draw vs. Sky Blue FC

Kelley O'Hara scored for Sky Blue FC, but Diana Matheson's stoppage time PK earned the Washington Spirit a 3-3 draw. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

BOYDS, Md. — The Washington Spirit and Sky Blue battled to a 3-3 tie Wednesday at the Maryland SoccerPlex after the Spirit earned a stoppage time penalty kick to tie the game.

The first half at the Soccerplex as littered with near misses and wasted opportunities. Both teams had several opportunities to score but the game remained 0-0 almost until close to halftime.

Robyn Gayle scored in the 39th minute to give the Spirit the advantage. Gayle fought off a couple of defenders and fired a shot towards the left post beyond Jill Loyden. Crystal Dunn was credited with the assist after cutting inside.

The second half was equally sloppy but on the defensive side of the ball. Five goals in total were scored in the half, resulting a 3-3 tie.

“We have to address the fact that we stopped playing at times, Sky Blue head coach Jim Gabarra said postgame. “But the positive is, we scored three goals. We kind of have everything going bad for us and results wise, so it’s a disappointing result but at the end of the day it’s a tie on the road. We scored three goals. We got to tighten some things up and get rid of those moments of losing focus.”

Sky Blue dominated much of the second half. Jonelle Filigno entered the game at halftime and scored to tie the game up two minutes later. A miscommunication by the Spirit defense led to an easy chance that Filigno tapped in past Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris.

Sky Blue then took the lead in 52nd minute. Dunn committed a foul right outside the box, and Katy Freels sent the free kick toward the back post and it went through traffic untouched to beat Harris.

An counter attack led to Sky Blue’s last goal in the 65th minute. Christie Rampone played a cross into Kelley O’Hara for the finish. The ball looked to have grazed O’Hara’s hand on the way in, but the goal counted to give Sky Blue what looked like a comfortable lead..

Washington, however, mounted a successful late comeback. In the 74 minute, Lori Lindsey took a shot from long range which bounced around a bit. Loyden got her hands on the ball but not enough to change the trajectory of the ball, which went in the net to cut Sky Blue’s lead to 3-2.

In stoppage time, Sky Blue was called for a controversial handball in the box. O’Hara won a header that then bounced down to Kendall Johnson, who was called for the handball. Diana Matheson stepped up and calmly went right while Loyden guessed wrong.

“Second half, (we were) caught on our heels,” Spirit coach Mark Parsons said. “I think all three (of their goals) came from set pieces, two of our set pieces, they counterattacked us and broke and we just haven’t dealt with it well enough…. I think the character and the fight and to kind of, I don’t think magic happened, but to force opportunities it get in and around the goal to steal a couple of goals is something really different and positive. I don’t think we’ve seen that as a team.”

Both teams will look to tighten up the defense in their next outings. Washington Spirit will face the Houston Dash at 4 p.m. at home on Monday. Sky Blue, meanwhile, will play Portland on Saturday at Providence Park after a cross-country flight on a tight turnaround.

Washington Spirit vs. Sky Blue FC May 21, 2014 – Maryland SoccerPlex

Scoring Summary:

1 2 F
Washington Spirit 1 2 3
Sky Blue FC 0 3 3

WAS – Gayle (Dunn) 39′
SBFC – Filigno (O’Hara) 47′
SBFC – Freels 52′
SBFC – O’Hara (Rampone) 65′
WAS – Lindsey 74′
WAS – Matheson 92+ (PK)

Lineups:

WAS – Harris, Gayle, Huster, Krieger, Dunn; Perez (Angeli 75), Nairn (Cuellar 65), Averbuch, Lindsey, Matheson; Taylor

Substitutes Not Used: Jones, Sierra, Adams

SBFC – Loyden; Johnson, Goodson, Rampone, Levin; Nick, Freels, Schmidt; O’Hara, Ocampo (Cutshall 89), Hayes (Filigno 46)

Substitutes Not Used: Cameron, Thompson, Morris, Stanton

Misconduct Summary:

SBFC – Filigno 55 (yellow)

Referee: Boris Senic

Assistant Referees: Mark Boyko, Alexander Luttmann

Fourth Official: Matthew Richardson

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