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Washington Spirit Drops Second Straight Shorthanded

The Washington Spirit lost its second consecutive match after a stoppage time penalty save from Current goalkeeper Adrianna Franch Sunday evening.

In the opening minute of play, Kansas City threatened to take the early lead with a breakaway possession near the Spirit’s six-yard box until goalkeeper Devon Kerr stepped up and covered the ball before the Current could get a shot off. A few minutes later, the Washington attacking third made its presence known when a Tara McKeown shot from the middle of the box was blocked away before just missing the net.

Another ten minutes later, Dorian Bailey took a corner kick and sent a cross to Bayley Feist who nearly headed home the go-ahead goal but missed just to the right. In the 20th minute, Kansas City’s Kate Del Fava fired off a shot from the top of the box high over the crossbar. Eleven minutes later, the Current’s Elyse Bennett had a similar outcome when she took a shot from the left side of the 18-yard box that sailed over the top left corner of the frame.

1495 Sports is proud to bring the following Washington Spirit Post Match Press Conference from 7/10/22. This was after the team’s 1-0 loss to Kansas City in NWSL action at Segra Field. Video features thoughts from Head Coach Kris Ward along with Averie Collins and Tara McKeown

The Spirit had one of its best offensive chances in the 36th minute of play when Bayley Feist left a drop pass at the right side of the box for Jordan Baggett who ripped an open look above the crossbar. The Current then put together a couple of attacking opportunities in first half stoppage time. Anna Heilferty stepped in to block a cross deep in the box out for a corner before the Spirit blocked away another cross on the ensuing corner kick.

Washington opened the second half maintaining control of possession with a plethora of scoring chances in the first 20 minutes. In the 48th minute, Feist found McKeown with a through ball for a breakaway but the play was ruled offside. In the 57th minute, McKeown made a great move to beat her defender near the end line and drove toward the goal before letting off a shot that had to be tipped over the crossbar by Franch. On the ensuing corner, Amber Brooks put her head on a cross and sent an arching ball past Franch but another defender was able to clear the ball away at the goal line. Just three minutes later, Sam Staab took a free kick that McKeown headed on goal before it was tipped wide for another corner.

Despite the commanding Spirit performance, Kansas City’s Cece Kizer broke the deadlock in the 68th minute when she received a cross in the center of the box and was able to send a soft shot around Kerr and into the back of the net for the 1-0 lead. Washington had a chance at an equalizer in the 72nd minute when Staab delivered a free kick into the center of the box that was just out of the reach of a wide open and sliding McKeown.

In the third minute of second half stoppage time, substitute Tinaya Alexander was able to draw a penalty when she drove into the box and put some moves on her defenders to get around them. With the chance to steal a point late, Alexander was unable to connect as Franch made an impressive diving save and was able to corral the rebound in front of an empty net before Averie Collins could put the ball away. In the final seconds before the whistle, the Spirit had another great chance when it was able to draw a corner. The corner kick fell to the ground in front of the net untouched but bounced out for a goal kick as no Spirit players were able to make contact.

The Spirit will return to Audi Field in Washington, D.C. next Sunday evening to take on the Orlando Pride. With ten matches remaining, the Spirit finds itself just six points out of a playoff position despite its 1-5-6 record. Next week’s match will also be the Spirit’s final without its seven USWNT players, who will return in time for Washington’s trip to North Carolina at the end of the month.

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