Francisca Ordega’s 19th minute goal stood up for a 1-0 win for the Spirit over the Thorns in front of the largest crowd of the season at the Maryland SoccerPlex. The win extended the Spirit’s unbeaten streak to 3 and sent the Thorns to their second consecutive loss. The Spirit also remained in 8th place after the Dash had temporarily passed them earlier in the day. They are 4 points behind the Thorns who left the field in 4th but had a chance to slip further down later in the evening.
The Spirit ruled the first half and finally broke through on a piece of individual brilliance by Ordega. Celeste Boureille made a lazy pass to Allie Long and Ordega won the challenge and dribbled into space. As she approached the area she cut left, then right, winning crucial field position from Emily Sonnett and then blasted a shot past Adrianna Franch for her 4th goal of the season and the only goal of the night.
It was Franch that allowed the Thorns to keep it scoreless for as long as they did. In the 9th minute Ordega lofted a ball over the Thorns defense where Havana Solaun ran onto it and had a point blank chance on Franch. The keeper raised up to knock it down. From there Cheyna Williams looked to have a simple rebound but Emily Menges scrambled over to block it away.
— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) June 24, 2017
In the 22nd minute the Spirit nearly struck again. Solaun took advantage of a sliver of space and blasted a shot from 20 yards that rang off the right post.
The Thorns inserted Nadia Nadim after halftime. Nadim missed last week’s loss to Sky Blue injured and replaced Ashleigh Sykes on her first NWSL start. Nadim’s presence and some headier play helped turn the run of play in the Thorns’ favor, but never were they able to get anything of quality up against Stephanie Labbe who collected her first shutout of the season.
The best chance of the second half came late and again involved Ordega whose high pressure forced a turnover. With the Thorns pushing numbers high in search of the equalizer, Ordega and Kate Stengel were 2-on-1, and Ordega had a good look but did not make great contact with the shot and it rolled in to Franch.
After the final whistle, head coaches Jim Gabarra and his Spirit predecessor Mark Parsons were seen in a testy exchange near the benches.
Parsons and the Thorns (4-3-3, 15 pts) will be heading home for a Wednesday clash with FC Kansas City. The Spirit (3-5-2, 11 pts) next play Saturday, July 1 in Boston.
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