The Washington Spirit and Chicago Red Stars battled to a scoreless draw Wednesday night at SeatGeek Stadium. Washington moves to 1-2-5 on the season while Chicago shifts to 3-1-3.
The majority of the first half was spent in the Spirit’s defensive third with the Red Stars recording six shots and three on goal. The Washington attack managed just two shots, none of which were on target, in the opening 45. The Chicago attacking third forced Aubrey Kingsbury to be flawless out of the gate and she was. The goalkeeper made three first-half saves to keep her side in the match.
In the first ten minutes of action, Chicago had multiple breakaway opportunities with Sam Staab stepping in front of an attacker to stop a shot and Kingsbury making a diving save. In the 19th minute, Kingsbury made another save on a driving Mal Pugh and, 12 minutes later, stopped a Yuki Nagasato shot off a cross from Pugh. Chicago’s best chance of the half came in the 35th minute when Rachel Hill headed a cross from Pugh off the left post. Kingsbury closed the half with another close-range save on the right side of the net.
Despite the seemingly one-sided first half, the Spirit came out for the second half and maintained a relatively steady scoring attack. Trinity Rodman and Ashley Sanchez entering the match for the second half proved critical as Washington was able to control possession much better than it was in the first. In the 48th minute, Rodman drove in to the goal and took a sharp-angle shot that went squarely off the left post. The very next minute, an Ashley Hatch header was saved on the goal line by Chicago goaltender Alyssa Naeher. In minute 51, Morgan Goff had a good look from inside the box after collecting a rebound but her shot was blocked. In the 59th, Ashley Sanchez rifled a shot just high from the top of the box.
In the final ten minutes of regulation, Rodman and Sanchez combined for another three great scoring opportunities. In the 81st minute, Sanchez fired a shot just over the crossbar and in the 84th minute, Rodman sent a hard shot from the left side of the box into the hands of Naeher. In the 90th minute, Sanchez had another shot on goal that was saved by Naeher. After four minutes of stoppage time, the final whistle was blown on the 0-0 draw.
The Spirit now head back to the DMV for a two-match homestand. This Saturday night, Washington will take on the North Carolina Courage at Segra Field before going head to head with Racing Louisville FC on Friday, June 17 at Segra Field.
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