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NWSL preseason roundup: Spirit fall to Virginia

The Washington Spirit fell to Virginia on a frigid day. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

The Washington Spirit fell to Virginia on a frigid day. (Photo Copyright Erica McCaulley for The Equalizer)

The Washington Spirit fell to the University of Virginia, 1-0 on Saturday in the Spirit’s first loss of the NWSL preseason. Alexis Shaffer scored the lone goal of the match in the 35th minute for Virginia, who finished national runners-up in 2014.

Portland Thorns FC, Seattle Reign FC, the Boston Breakers and the Western New York Flash all registered preseason wins on Saturday.

On Sunday, the Houston Dash the University of Texas, 2-0 behind goals from Melissa Henderson and Kealia Ohai. Sky Blue FC also finished preseason with a 2-0 win over Rutgers behind goals from Katy Freels and Theresa Diederich. Sky Blue FC didn’t give up a goal in preseason, winning all four matches.

The Spirit have yet to beat Virginia in any of their scrimmages. Last year, the teams played to a draw and in 2013, Virginia trounced the Spirit, 6-3.

Washington found success offensively against Virginia Tech last weekend, but failed to break down the Cavaliers’ defense, led by rising senior Emily Sonnett. Combination play, which head coach Mark Parsons praised last weekend, was also lacking.

The Spirit attempted several times to take advantage of the windy conditions and chip Virginia goalkeeper Emily Lillard, but the shots were mostly off the mark. One of forward Laura del Rio’s attempted chips did hit the crossbar in the first half. It took a great defensive play by Virginia’s Tina Iordanou to keep the Spirit’s second chance out of the net.

After coming in at halftime, Lillard made several noteworthy saves to keep the Spirit’s deficit from increasing. She tipped two dangerous shots over the cross bar and made an excellent save with her leg on a third one.

— Jen Gordon

Around the league

Portland defeated the University of Arizona, 6-0 to complete preseason two weeks ahead of opening kick. Jodie Taylor, Allie Long and trialist Kelsey Haycook all scored for the second straight game in Tuscon, Ariz. Trialist Taylor Comeau scored twice and fellow trialist Kelley Monogue added another.

Seattle comfortably defeated the University of Portland, 5-0 behind a brace from 2014 NWSL MVP Kim Little. Keelin Winters, Danielle Foxhoven and Stephanie Cox also scored.

The Boston Breakers comfortably beat the Jamaican national team for the second time in four days, winning 5-0 for the second time in Orlando, Fla. Suzane Pires and Kristie Mewis scored in the first half, while Cat Whitehill, Nkem Ezurike and Amy Barczuk all added goals in the second half.

Earlier in the day, rookie Sam Mewis led Western New York’s 8-1 demolition of Syracuse University. Mewis scored twice and added an assist as six different players scored, including new signing and Cameroon international Ajara Nchout Njoya.

NWSL team lineups

WASHINGTON: Kelsey Wys (Emily Lillard 45’), Katherine Reynolds, Megan Oyster, Estelle Johnson (Jennifer Skogerboe 80’), Whitney Church (Alex Singer 45’), Angela Salem, Amanda Da Costa (Emily Banes 89’), Joanna Lohman (Kelsey Pardue 89’), Tori Huster (Christine Nairn 45’), Estefania Banini, Laura del Rio (Caroline Miller 45’)

PORTLAND: GK Michelle Betos (Nadine Angerer, 45); D Courtney Niemiec (Tessa Andujar*, 60), D Kat Williamson (Alyssa Kleiner*, 60), D Emily Menges, D Kendall Johnson (Kate Bennett*, 60); M Sinead Farrelly (Sarah Robbins, 60), M McCall Zerboni (Taylor Comeau*, 60), M Allie Long, M Mana Shim (Kelley Monogue*, 60); F Kelsey Haycook* (Hanna Terry, 60), F Jodie Taylor (Sarah Jackson*, 60)


BOSTON: BOS: Jami Kranich (Paige Burnett, 65), Mollie Pathman (Samantha Lofton, 46), Kassey Kallman (Chanel Johnson, 46), Rachel Wood (Cat Whitehill, 46), Maddy Evans (Jasmin Corniel, 46), Suzane Pires (Katie Schoepfer, 46), Bia (Amy Barczuk, 46), Rafinha (Stephanie Verdoia, 46), Ketlen (Bianca Brinson, 46), Stephanie McCaffrey (Morgan Marlborough, 30; Nkem Ezurike 60), Kristie Mewis (Jamia Fields, 46)

WESTERN NEW YORK: D’Angelo (Jones 59’); Taylor, Dahlkemper, Pressley, Hinkle; Brooks (Stewart 45’), Edwards, Mewis; Spencer (Nchout Njoya 45’), Kur (Hamilton 74’), Angeli (Edmonds 45’)




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