The Washington Spirit drew the Orlando Pride in both squads’ first match of the 2022 NWSL Challenge Cup tonight, 0-0.
The Spirit had a scoring chance early when Trinity Rodman fired a shot off an impressive feed from Ashley Sanchez that had to be tipped wide by Pride goalkeeper Erin McLeod in the third minute of action. Ten minutes later, Tara McKeown ripped a shot from the top of the box that again had to be saved by McLeod. Ashley Hatch got in on the action with a trio of scoring chances in the 15th and 16th minutes before an offensive drought for the Spirit ended the first half.
Things started to get physical in the sixth minute of play with the first two of an eventual 28 fouls that would occur before the end of the match. The Spirit won eight and conceded six free kicks in the first half alone while also drawing a yellow card against the Pride’s Carrie Lawrence. The second half saw Washington win and concede another seven free kicks each with another five yellow cards given out before time was called. Anna Heilferty, Camryn Biegalski and Taylor Aylmer were each given yellow cards for the Spirit with Marta and Kylie Strom being carded for the Pride.
With the lack of scoring from the defending champs, goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury had to be perfect and she was. Kingsbury kicked 2022 off with a clean sheet, making 2 saves against a scrappy Pride attacking third. Washington will be back in action next Friday, March 25, as they host NJ/NY Gotham FC at Segra Field in Leesburg, VA in the first home match of 2022.
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