A rematch from one week earlier, the Washington Spirit (1-5-1) vs FC Kansas City (3-2-2) ended with the Spirit dropping the match 3-2 Saturday, losing another match by a single point. In previous years, the Spirit built a reputation of being a team who could beat anyone. This year is turning out very differently.
Playing at Swope Field in Kansas City, the Washington Spirit opened the match with a powerful attack and a well-coordinated passing game. They kept FCKC on defense. Returning to a 4-3-3 system, the Spirit looked to be on track to dominate the match. Kristie Mewis had two corner kicks in the fourth minute. The rebounding ball on the second corner kick put it right back to Mewis who was rushing the net. She put boot to ball and fired a rocket shot towards goal that FCKC keeper Nicole Barnhart could not stop. The score: Spirit 1, FCKC 0.
FCKC has a not-so-secret weapon, Sydney Leroux. In the ninth minute, Leroux swept down the left side of the field, outpacing the Spirit’s defense and picking up a pass from Brittany Ratcliffe. She redirected the ball’s momentum towards the net as Spirit keeper Stephanie Labbè aggressively moved out of the goal area to defend against Leroux’s incoming line of attack. Leroux seized the opportunity of an open net to get past Labbè and snapped a shot right to the back of the net.
Alexa Newfield of FCKC, who scored the lone goal against the Spirit the previous week, drew a yellow card in the 16th minute for contact with Spirit player Line Sigvardsen Jensen. Shea Groom from Kansas City found her footing and was quickly teaming up with Leroux and Newfield to put the Spirit on their heels. The favorable momentum was shifting from the Spirit to FCKC.
In the 27th minute, Leroux picked a loose ball in the penalty box chipped it past Whitney Church of the Spirit, reconnecting with it and lacing another shot into the net past Zadorsky and Labbè. Leroux shows what a great athlete she is in soccer. Less than a year ago in September, she and her husband Dom Dwyer of the Sporting Kansas City, welcomed Cassius Cruz Dwyer. She is back on the pitch and making her presence well known to the Spirit in this match.
The halftime score was FCKC 2, Spirit 1.
Fifteen minutes into the second half, FCKC’s momentum from the first half grew. On a FCKC corner kick, the first shot was defended well. The deflection back out into the mix of players was picked off by Becky Sauerbrunn. She put her head to it and sent it right to the far corner of the back of the net. FCKC was now up 3-1.
The 70th minute brought a new problem to the Spirit. FCKC’s Newfield aggressive challenge on the ball resulted in contact with Spirit’s keeper Labbè. Labbè went down to the ground clutching her right thigh. Already riding a yellow card, Newfield earned a red card and was ejected from the game. For the next 20 minutes of regular play, FCKC would be down one player.
Havana Solaun buoyed the Spirit’s morale. She fired off a long distance shot that was deflected just slightly by a FCKC player resulting in Barnhart missing the ball coming at her. Solaun scored a goal with the final tally: FCKC 3, Spirit 2.
The next match for the Washington Spirit’s will be against the Houston Dash on June 3rd, 7 p.m., at Maureen Hendricks Field in Boyds.
Seating at Maureen Hendricks field has changed. Previously the seating on the far side of the field away from the teams was listed as General Admission seating. Sections 114 – 117 on the far side of the field is now reserved seating. What was a $25 seat is now a $45 seat. A quick check of the Spirit’s ticketing site shows these sections as sold out.