The Washington Spirit defeated OL Reign in the semifinal of the 2021 NWSL Playoffs this evening, 2-1.
Action did not take long to get going as OL Reign captured an early lead in the third minute. Eugenie Le Sommer netted the first goal off a cross from Megan Rapinoe. This was OL Reign’s first goal against the Spirit this season.
The Spirit backline showed unusual nerves early against the attack of OL Reign as the Spirit found themselves on their heels. That said, they neutralized OL Reign’s attack when only minutes later Trinity Rodman tied the game off a perfectly placed lob from Sam Staab.
For the remainder of the first half, the Spirit and OL Reign traded blows, but no team could find the back of the net again. A free kick from Andi Sullivan set up Rodman for what appeared to be her second goal of the game, but she was ruled offside. Similarly, Megan Rapinoe found herself free in the box but placed the ball just wide of goal.
Out of halftime, the Spirit attack was in full force. Rodman again was in the mix, and nearly netted another goal set up from Ashley Sanchez.
OL Reign did not let up either.The Spirit backline was on the defensive for large chunks of the second half. They were challenged often, and Kelley O’Hara was forced to foul Rapone, earning a yellow card in the 62’. Though, the backline did not concede another goal.
The highlight of the entire match occurred in the 68’ when Sanchez, who was posted a few feet away from goal, flicked the ball off the side of her right foot and to the back post past the hands of Bouhaddi.
With the lead and little time remaining, the Spirit subbed multiple defensive players towards the end of the game. And ultimately, Sanchez’s goal was the deciding goal in the match.
The Spirit were a perfect 3-0 on the year in Tacoma and advanced to their first NWSL Final since 2016.
For their next league fixture, the Spirit travel to Louisville to face the winner of Portland Thorns/Chicago Red Stars on Saturday, November 20 at 12:00 pm ET which will be broadcast live on CBS (USA) and Twitch (International).
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