In its final match of the 2022 campaign, the Washington Spirit was bested at home after conceding a second-half own goal to the playoff-bound Houston Dash.
Looking to start out on the front foot, the Spirit held no hesitation in the attack. In the third minute of the match, Ashley Hatch found herself in on goal following a run from the start of the Dash’s defensive half. With the first Spirit opportunity of the night, Hatch put the ball just wide of the post. Despite the attacking push by the Spirit, it would be the Dash that opened the scoring. In the 14th minute, Marisa Viggiano made a run into the box, cut inside and placed her shot perfectly in the upper lefthand corner. Immediately following the ensuing kickoff, Ashley Sanchez found herself with a one-on-one opportunity, however she was denied by Dash goalkeeper Jane Campbell.
1495 Sports is proud to bring the following Washington Spirit Post Match Press Conference from 10/2. Video features thoughts from Sam Stabb, Andi Sullivan and Interim Head Coach Albertin Montoya from after the team’s 2-1 loss to the Houston Dash in NWSL action at Audi Field:
Aubrey Kingsbury would make her first stop of the match in the 27th minute. As the Dash crossed in the ball, Nichelle Prince struck her shot into the top right corner but it was matched equally by Kingsbury and put over the bar for a corner. In the 33rd minute, Kingsbury was called upon again. With Ebony Salmon into the box with a clear path, Kingsbury came off her line and took the shot off her chest, denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity.
Trinity Rodman was drawn down inside the box in the 35th minute, leaving the referee no option but to award the penalty. Spirit captain Andi Sullivan stepped up to the spot and slotted her shot into the bottom left hand corner, scoring her first goal of the season and first non-Challenge Cup goal since her penalty kick equalizer in last year’s championship match.
Coming into the second half, the Dash wasted no time getting into the attack. In the 46th minute, substitute Michelle Alozie managed to get a shot off through multiple Washington players, nailing the crossbar and coming back out, eventually being cleared by the Spirit. In the 55th minute, Washington was saved by the crossbar again, as Salmon took a powerful strike outside the box that struck the woodwork and resulted in a goal kick.
Houston found the back of the net again in the 58th minute. Alozie cut in and crossed the ball from the left hand side. As Prince headed the ball it came off the post, hitting the frame of Kingsbury’s goal for the third time this half. However, the Spirit was out of luck as the ball knocked off Julia Roddar and over the line, resulting in an own goal.
Throughout the rest of the match, both the Spirit and Dash continued to generate several half-chances, none of which showed any major threat. With one team aiming to tie the game and the other looking to double its lead, neither were able to make any significant strides on the scoresheet. After an additional four minutes of stoppage time, the game would end in a 2-1 loss for the defending champion Washington Spirit.
Following the successful 2021 season, the Washington Spirit wrapped up its 2022 campaign with a 3-9-10 record. The Spirit will now enter a much longer offseason than it had last year as last season’s schedule ran into late November.
The 2022-23 offseason will feature the first ever NWSL free agency period as required by the league’s first CBA. Goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart, defender Amber Brooks, midfielder Tori Huster and defender Kelley O’Hara will all have the opportunity to explore this window. The 2023 preseason will kick off in mid-winter and see the Washington Spirit work toward returning to its winning ways.
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