1495 Sports is proud to bring the following Washington Spirit Post Match Press Conference from 7/2. Video features thoughts from Head Coach Richie Burke along with Paige Nielsen.
The Washington Spirit fell in their eighth match of the 2021 NWSL regular season to the Chicago Red Stars on Friday night, 0-1, at Segra Field in Leesburg, VA.
The Spirit opened Friday’s match on the offensive as the nineteen-year-old rookie Trinity Rodman found clearance for an open shot in the seventh minute that sailed just above the crossbar. Dorian Bailey, the eighth overall pick in the 2019 NWSL Draft, had two chances from the corner flag in the ninth and 16th minute marks; however, the Spirit had nothing to show for.
Similarly, the Red Stars failed to capitalize on any early opportunities on goal. Both teams were unable to find a rhythm until Mallory Pugh’s 20th-minute lofted free kick — which Aubrey Bledsoe saved — kick-started Chicago’s offense. In the 30th-minute, Chicago proved to be on the front foot with Kealia Watt’s attempted shot on goal which was again blocked by Bledsoe. Pugh, a recent USWNT snub, drove a corner inside the box that resulted in the first goal of the match, a 33rd-minute own goal by Julia Roddar.
The next several minutes were mostly played in Chicago’s possession, including two additional chances from the corner attempted by Pugh. Despite this, just before the end of the first half, the Spirit seemingly gained momentum from a Rodman spin move that set up Roddar for a shot that went wide.
Rodman picked up where she left off in the early stages of the second half, getting a shot off inside the box that rolled inches wide-left. Chicago immediately answered with a Watt shot directed at and saved by, Bledsoe.
There was little to report until the 60th-minute, when Tara McKeown was substituted for an injured Rodman who left the field grasping her back. Following the substitution, the Spirit fired off four shots that never made it to net, all of which were blocked by Chicago defenders. The Spirit then brought in Anna Heilferty for Roddar in the 67th-minute.
With fifteen minutes remaining in the second half, a Watt shot nailed the post and nearly crossed the goal line. The game grew chippy following the Red Stars’ opportunity, with both teams vying for crucial possession of the ball.
The final ten minutes saw the introduction of several players for both teams — including Kumi Yokoyama and Camryn Biegalski for the Spirit — and limited offensive action. Ultimately, several Spirit attempts to close the match in extra time were fruitless, and the match ended with a Red Stars’ victory, 1-0.
For their next league fixture, the Spirit will clash against the North Carolina Courage on Saturday, July 10 at 7:00 pm ET at Audi Field and will be broadcast live on Paramount+ (USA).
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