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Washington Spirit Battle to 1-1 Draw in the Windy City

1495 Sports is proud to bring the following Post Match Press Conference featuring Head Coach Richie Burke along with stars Trinity Rodman and Tori Huster

The Washington Spirit drew their sixth match of the 2021 NWSL regular season on Saturday night at SeatGeek Stadium in Chicago, IL, 1–1.

In front of their home fans, the Red Stars won an early corner and nearly netted the opening goal after five minutes, but Vanessa DiBernardo’s shot flipped over the crossbar. Moments later, defensive miscommunication from Washington led to a free shot for Mallory Pugh, with a shanked shot the result. 

After a collision of heads inside Chicago’s 18, the Spirit played down for nearly three minutes as Ashley Hatch went through concussion protocol. After 20 minutes played, Kealia Watt turned on the afterburners, blew by Sam Staab and fired a shot that slammed directly into Aubrey Bledsoe’s gloves for a routine save.   

Looking for her first marker of the season, Washington captain Andi Sullivan hit a long-range effort at the top of the box that curled wide. Hatch had to be withdrawn 20 minutes later with a concussion, and Tara McKeown, the eighth overall pick in the 2021 Draft, came on as the replacement. 

On the stroke of halftime, Pugh went on a marauding run in between several Spirit defenders, played a one-two with Rachel Hill but saw her look on target blocked by a sliding Staab. After the first 45, the score remained locked at zero for both clubs. 

The match became stretched in the early parts of the second half, a change in pace that benefitted Chicago. The Red Stars were able to send the ball out wide to Watt and Pugh to attack the Spirit’s defense.

A second clash of heads in the 55’ forced Sanchez off the field, but when the speedy forward returned to action, she broke free for a one-on-one with Alyssa Naeher; the national team shot-stopper came up with a diving save to keep Washington off the board. 

In the 78’, DiBernardo sent a weighted pass through the backline to Pugh, but the 23-year-old crushed her shot well over Bledsoe. Pugh’s full skillset was on full display in the final 10 minutes; a nifty turn-and-go allowed her to launch yet another shot on goal. This time, though, she struck the outside of the near post. 

Late heroics are becoming a theme with this young Spirit squad. Sullivan, who had moved into the center-back spot, hit a peach of a pass up to Trinity Rodman, who took a chest trap, worked an angle for herself and deftly tucked the ball underneath Naeher to break the stalemate in the 85’.  

Any celebrations for the visitors were short-lived; in the 91’, a cross from the left wing glanced off Stabb’s arm, giving the Red Stars a late lifeline. Morgan Gautrat stepped up to the penalty spot and buried a shot into the bottom-left corner to even the contest.  

For their next league fixture, the Spirit travel to the Midwest to face Kansas City on Saturday, June 26 at 8:30 pm ET at Legends Field and will be broadcast live on Paramount+ (USA) and Twitch (INT).

For more information on the Washington Spirit fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

Washington Spirit » Professional Women’s Soccer in DC

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