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Memorable season for Washington Spirit ends in heartbreak on penalty kick

20160903 DRW Spirit vs WNYF-1Washington Spirit's Crystal Dunn (19), seen here in an earlier game against the Western New York Flash, scored both goals for the team, but the Flash would win in OT on a penalty kick. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

The Washington Spirit finished their season last week runner-up for the National Women’s Soccer League championship, falling to the Western New York Flash in Houston in overtime penalty kicks Oct. 9.

Spirit Head Coach and General Manager Jim Gabarra said he thought the better team lost the game that ended in a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation and 3-2 in favor of the flash after PKs.

“The better side does not always win in these matches, especially in something as late as four minutes of added time,” he said. “To go to penalty kicks , it’s an awful way to decide a match.”

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Spirit prevail 2-1 in OT, head to NWSL championship

Washington Spirit Francisca OrdegaWashington Spirit forward Francisca Ordega scored the game-winning goal in overtime Friday.  PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

BOYDS – Home field advantage worked again for the Washington Spirit in their 2 to 1 overtime victory against the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women’s Soccer League semifinals Friday.

The win paved the road to Houston for the Spirit, where they will play the Western New York Flash for the national championship Oct. 9 at BBVA Compass Stadium.

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Spirit secure home playoff game with 2-1 win against Seattle

 DSC9848Spirit forward Cheyna Williams (left) and forward Crystal Dunn celebrate Dunn's goal with a little bit of dancing on the field as Caprice Dydesco and Estelle Johnson watch. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  BOYDS – The Washington Spirit (12-3-3, 39 points) netted a home game playoff spot in the National Women’s Soccer League semifinals with a 2-1 win over the Seattle Reign (6-6-6, 24 points) Wednesday night.

Spirit forward Crystal Dunn notched her first score of the season off an assist from midfielder Christine Nairn during stoppage time play in the first half.

Last season, Dunn scored nearly every game and she won the Golden Boot with the most goals in the league. Washington Head Coach and General Manager Jim Gabarra predicted early in the season Dunn would score when the team needed it.

Seattle Reign’s offense kept the Spirit defense active the whole match.

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Spirit secure playoff berth with 1-1 tie against WNYF

Spirit vs WNYF-4Even with two people marking Crystal Dunn, she gets off her shot on goal.    PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE

 

BOYDS – The Washington Spirit (11-3-3 36 points.) secured a spot in the National Women’s Soccer League playoffs Saturday, tying the Western New York Flash (8-5-4  28 point) with one goal each.

If the Boyds-based team remains the league leader in points, the team will earn at least one home match at Maureen Hendricks Field. Should they make it to the finals, the game will be played in Houston at BBVA Compass Stadium. 

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Spirit's Huster reflects on Rio Olympic results

20160618 Sprit vs Pride-16Tori Huster (left) fights for the ball as part of the Washington Spirit. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

In Rio de Janeiro, the United States Women’s National Soccer team made it through to the quarter finals at the Olympics by a slim margin.

Favored to run through the preliminary matches in Group C, with nothing but wins and potentially clean sheets for every game, Columbia nearly ended that for the U.S. in a 2-2 draw Tuesday.

Goalie Hope Solo made rare mistakes on two free kicks, giving Columbia early Christmas presents.

However, forwards Crystal Dun and Mallory Pugh each scored a goal for the USWNT (2-0-1 overall, 7 points), which won the group and eliminated Colombia from the tournament.

Locally, the Montgomery County Sentinel had the opportunity to spend 15 minutes chatting with midfielder Victoria (Tori) Huster.

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Spirit's homefield advantage continues with win

 

20160618 Spirit vs SkyBlue-9In an earlier game in June, three of the Spirit's core backline, Ali Krieger, Megan Oyster, and Shelina Zadorsky.  FILE PHOTO  

BOYDS – The Washington Spirit dominated Sky Blue FC 3-1 at home Sunday, earning three more points to stay tied with the Portland Thorns for first place in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Washington improved 6-1-1 at home this season at Maureen Hendricks Field and enter the Olympic break at 9-3-2 overall this season with 29 points.

Sky Blue FC of New Jersey dropped to fifth place at 6-5-4 and 22 points.

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Loss to Sky Blue keeps Spirit in first place tie

20160618 Sprit vs Pride-16The Washington Spirit battle in Boyds. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

More than half way through the regular season, the Washington Spirit continue to battle the spurious invisible Jersey specter that will not allow them to win a match against Sky Blue FC when played on the home turf of Sky Blue FC.   The Spirit lost an opportunity to pick up three points and be in sole possession of first place by losing to host Sky Blue FC 1-0 this past Saturday in New Jersey.

Instead, Sky Blue (6-4-4 overall, 22 points) picked up three points and moved into a tie with the Chicago Red Stars for fourth place, making them serious contenders for a playoff position.

Meanwhile, the on-again, off-again Spirit (8-3-2) share first place with the Portland Thorns (7-2-5) at 26 points, with the Western New York Flash (8-5-1) right behind with 25 points.

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Spirit recapture first place with win over K.C. 3-2

 

WashSpirit-Estefania BaniniEstefania Banini pushes the ball upfield for the Spirit.   COURTESY PHOTO

As unpredictable as ever, the Washington Spirit won an away game while playing FC Kansas City on their home field Saturday, downing host FC Kansas City 3-2 in what should have been a runaway match for the Spirit.

However, the Washington Spirit (8-2-2) still exited the game tied with the Portland Thorns (7-2-5) for first place in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Instead, they nearly gave away the game and their 2-0 lead late more than two-thirds of the way through the match. 

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Locals do well on U.S. Women's National Team

20160618 Sprit vs Pride-1Spirit forward Crystal Dunn is among the players named for this year's Olympic Soccer Team. FILE PHOTO United States Women’s National Team head coach Jill Ellis named the 18 players for the Olympic Soccer Team Tuesday, including two local Washington Spirit players: defender Ali Krieger and forward Crystal Dunn.

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Slow start doesn’t stop Spirit's 2-0 win against Kansas City

20160702 Spirit vs FCKC-8Alyssa Kliener steps in to win the ball away from FC Kansas City player (and Laurel, Md. native) Tiffany McCarty. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

BOYDS – Restarting their unbeaten home streak, the Washington Spirit put away FC Kansas City 2-0 Saturday in home game that developed slowly with the national team members out training for the Olympics.

Neither team dominated the game. It took until two key substitutions by the Spirit (6-2-2 overall) to prevent a draw.

“I think there was a good energy. We were a lot more organized and we played well as a group. The second half with the insertion of Franny and Cheyna really added some speed and dynamic up front. I think we started moving the ball a little quicker,” said Washington General Manager and Head Coach Jim Gabarra, referring to forwards Francisca Ordega and Cheyna Williams.

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