The Washington Spirit defeated Racing Louisville FC in its twenty-first match of the 2021 NWSL regular season this evening, 3-0.
After dominating control of the ball for much of the opening action, the Spirit broke the tie in the 8’. Trinity Rodman roped a pass around a Louisville defender onto the foot of Ashley Hatch who placed the ball past Louisville keeper Michelle Betos to score her eighth goal of the season, a mark that ranks second in the NWSL.
After the initial goal, the first half of play was characterized by the Spirit’s control of possession and inability to capitalize on scoring chances. Hatch found Tara McKeown on a pass similar to Rodman’s but McKeown was unable to finish. Similarly, Andi Sullivan got a foot on the ball inside of the box but was unable to finish.
Notable play also came from Kelley O’Hara and Emily Sonnett who anchored the Spirit backline. Despite the lack of flash, these two routinely stifled the Louisville attack and made crisp passes that would later turn into scoring chances. They also captained the Spirit defense that did not surrender a Louisville shot until the 28’.
To conclude the half, the Spirit laid several more shots on Louisville’s Betos. Rodman nearly found the back of the net in the 31’, and in the 38’, McKeown broke away only to skip a ball wide-left of goal. Only a minute later, Louisville’s Savannah McCaskill was issued a yellow card after a physical exchange that stopped a Spirit breakaway.
The Spirit finished the half with a whopping 265 passes — 78 more than Louisville — on nearly 85% passing accuracy.
There was no slowing down for the Spirit coming out of halftime, getting back on the scoreboard in the 52’ off a penalty kick.
Andi Sullivan, who converted a penalty kick in the last home game against KC NWSL, executed again today, nestling the ball into the right corner of the net past Betos who guessed incorrectly.
Following substitutions in the 60’ and 62’, Louisville showed flashes of success. However, Aubrey Bledsoe stuffed the most threatening Louisville attack, their second shot on goal to that point.
Action peaked in the 79’ when Rodman turned on the jets, beating a misplaced Michelle Betos, who left the box, tapping the ball to Hatch who sent it into the back of the empty net. That goal was Hatch’s ninth goal of the season, tying the league high.
In the end, Louisville failed to score and the Spirit earned a much-need three points which lifts them back into playoff contention.
For their next league fixture, the Spirit travel south to face the North Carolina Courage on Wednesday, October 13 at 7:30 pm ET which will be broadcast live on Paramount+ (USA) and Twitch (International).
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