The Washington Spirit lost in their twelfth match of the 2021 NWSL regular season on Sunday night, 3-1.
To kick off tonight’s showing, the Red Stars began the action with an early corner kick in the 2’. A Mallory Pugh corner managed to reach the feet of midfielder Danielle Colaprico, whose service back into Washington’s box showed no danger for Aubrey Bledsoe. Nonetheless, Chicago looked to be on the front foot early on.
In the 7’, the Spirit picked up possession in the Red Star’s attacking third, forcing Sarah Woldmoe to foul Ashley Hatch outside of the box. The in-swinger by Ashley Sanchez looked promising as the ball fell to three different Washington players, but the final shot narrowly missed the net.
Minutes later, Andi Sullivan started a decent looking chance for the Spirit with a clever through ball to Hatch. The attacker, however, was called offside for the second time in 12 minutes. Although there was nothing to show for it, the momentum continued for the Spirit.
After Trinity Rodman won the ball in the center of the pitch, the Spirit turned the ball over to a streaking Pugh. The attacker’s right-footed shot rolled off of the left post for the Chicago Red Stars to take the lead in the 20’.
The Spirit seemingly responded quickly as Rodman’s offensive press won her team a free kick in the attacking half. However, Sanchez’s shot right outside of the box proved to be an easy catch for Red Stars goalkeeper Cassie Miller. Shortly after, Washington earned another free kick with Chicago’s sustained pressure on Rodman. A jumping catch from Miller kept the score in Chicago’s favor.
After a few uncharacteristic giveaways from the Spirit, Kealia Watt sent in a promising-looking cross to a lurking Rachel Hill. The Red Stars, earning a corner, managed to beat the traffic in Washington’s box and score another goal. In the 39, the Spirit trailed by two goals after Hill’s fortunate deflection across the goal-line.
With a number of fouls and corners for both sides, the Spirit were down 0-2 at halftime after Chicago did not allow Washington any time or space on the ball. The Spirit opened up the second half as a completely new team, forcing the Red Stars to concede three corner kicks within the first 15 minutes. Despite these chances, Chicago defended their goal well to keep the score 0-2.
Washington continued to look better in the second half with more chances on goal. The tone of the game especially changed after Rodman’s swarming around the Chicago defenders set her up for a shot on net in the 71’. With patience and skill, the rookie’s touch around Miller allowed her to pass the ball into the goal.
While the Spirit’s luck seemed to be turned around this half, the momentum halted after defender Sam Staab conceded a penalty kick and earned a yellow card in the 79’. Chicago’s Morgan Gautrat hammered the ball into the corner of the net, extending the Red Star’s lead with only 20 minutes left to play.
The latter end of the second half consisted of multiple substitutions and half chances for both sides. In the four minutes of stoppage time, Miller barely collected the ball after Tara McKeown almost put one in for Washington. When the final whistle blew, the match ended 1-3 after an unlucky night for the Spirit.
For their next league fixture, the Spirit will return home against the Portland on Saturday, August 7 at 7:30 pm ET at Segra Field and will be broadcast live on Paramount+ (USA).
For more information on the Washington Spirit fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: