After conceding an early goal, the Washington Spirit used a second-half rally to defeat Kansas City NWSL 2-1 in the clubs’ first-ever meeting Saturday at Legends Field in Kansas City, Kansas. The Spirit extended their unbeaten run to five games since their last loss on May 21.
On a day in which all 10 NWSL teams were in action, the win kept Washington in fourth place in the league standings. The Spirit stayed ahead of NJ/NY Gotham FC and Racing Louisville FC, both of which won earlier in the day.
Kansas City got off to a fast start, with Amy Rodriguez scoring in the third minute to give the home side the lead. She nearly doubled the advantage in the 15th, but Aubrey Bledsoe denied her with a close-range kick save, gathering the rebound before the ball could cross the line.
The Spirit stayed in the game into the second half before a late burst of offense turned the tables. In the 78th minute, Trinity Rodman received a long pass from Andi Sullivan and managed to find Ashley Sanchez in space even as she was brought to the ground. Sanchez made a brilliant move around a Kansas City defender before slotting home for the equalizer.
With the game tied and time beginning to run short, the home crowd at Legends Field grew louder. Sanchez nearly scored again in the 82nd minute, unleashing a long-range effort that was just tipped over the bar by substitute goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart.
The match continued into nine minutes of stoppage time with both sides still seeking a winner. In the fifth added minute, Tori Huster pounced on a pass in Kansas City’s half and found Rodman, who evaded a defender with her right foot before using her left to find the back of the net with the decisive goal.
The match was the Spirit’s first in the Kansas City area since May 27, 2017, against FC Kansas City. Washington will host Kansas City NWSL for the first time on Sept. 26 at Segra Field.
Other Spirit highlights from the match included the appearances of Mariana Speckmaier and Paige Nielsen. Speckmaier made her NWSL debut as a halftime substitute for Camryn Biegalski, while Nielsen returned from an injury as a replacement for Emily Sonnett in the 70th minute. It was Nielsen’s first appearance since May 16.
The Spirit will return home next week for a Friday night match against the Chicago Red Stars at Segra Field. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at TicketMaster.com and the game will be streamed live on Twitch.
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