Corner Kick

Spirit wins, Pugh scores, expectations met

Corner Kick WashSpirit vs. Houston Dash 1 1477Spirit teammates swarm Mallory Pugh after she scores her first goal as a professional soccer player. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  BOYDS — On a beautiful summer evening at Maureen Hendricks Field in front of 3,096 fans, the Washington Spirit (2-5-1) outplayed the Houston Dash (2-6-0) for a 2-0 win.
Showcasing Mallory Pugh’s second start in the NWSL, the Spirit opened the match with speed and a dynamic attack. The speed caught the Dash by surprise and allowed Cheyna Williams to score the first goal of the game in the third minute. Havana Solaun of the Spirit provided the perfect pass to Williams that allowed her to slot the shot into the back of the net.
Spirit head coach Jim Gabarra had said two weeks earlier that when the team does not score in the first 20 minutes of home games, they tend to lose the match. The early goal by Williams was an excellent indicator of the final outcome.


Will Pugh be the shot in the arm the Spirit need?

xSpirit vs FCKC 1b 20170520 Cheyna Williams follows the ball to the keepers box but is prevented from scoring by Becky Sauerbrunn and FCKC keeper Nicole Narnhart. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE   FC Kansas City (2-2-2), who had never defeated the Spirit on their home field, ended that streak this past weekend with a 1-0 win over the Spirit. It was FCKC’s second win of the season which puts them in sixth place in the National Women’s Soccer League.


Double defeats for D.C. professional soccer

xCorner Kick DC United vs. Philly Union 1b 5 13 17Philadelphia Union's Ilsinho (25) goes to the ground after contact with D.C. United's Luciano Acosta. For his part in the contact, Acosta was issued a red card and ejected from the game. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEWhen D.C. United’s (3-5-2) game fails, they fail big. In a 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union (2-4-4), D.C. United’s bird crashed and burned. D.C. United has not lost to the Philadelphia Union at RFK since 2013.
In the first period the Union seemed to have trouble getting the ball past D.C. United’s midfield, unless they lobbed the ball from one back third to the other. Dribbling down the sides or up the middle consistently resulted in turning the ball over to the United. Unfortunately, it also seemed to work the opposite way. The midfields of both teams were well matched.
The first referee of the game was very generous with yellow cards, calling three of them in the first 19 minutes of the match. All three were calls for unsporting behavior, two against Philadelphia’s Fabinho and Bedoya, and one for D.C. United’s Neagle. In addition to the cards, the crowd protested loudly against fouls called that awarded free kicks to the Union. The RFK regulars have always channeled their emotions vocally, but this was above the usual level of noisy disagreement.


Spirit score three points first time this season in win over Sky Blue

The Washington Spirit picked up three points for the first time this season with a win over Sky Blue FC, 4-3. It was an exhaustive Ping-Pong game of offensive attacks by both teams. By the end of the match, there were a lot of tired legs on the pitch. This was as close to an Iron Man challenge as soccer can get. Sky Blue held the ball the majority of the game and they had 16 shots compared to the Spirit’s 87 yet the Spirit knocked off Sky Blue.


In loss to Houston, Spirit fails to score for third game in a row

201700429 Spirit vs Dash 1005Crystal Thomas attempts a slide tackle and goal shot in one move. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE 

For the third game in a row, the Spirit (0-2-1) has failed to put a win on the boards. They now stand in ninth place in a 10-team league with an overall record of. The Houston Dash (2-1-0), a team that Spirit consistently put away in past years, moved into fourth place in league standings with the win. The Houston Dash is moving up and the Spirit are closing on the bottom. While eight of the 10 teams have won at least one game, the Spirit and the Pride are winless.


Spirit earns a draw against Orlando and former teammates

Washington Spirit Logo

Facing the Orlando Pride at Orlando City Stadium Saturday, the team with the most ex-Washington Spirit starters, the Spirit drew an equalizer, with the final score 1-1. Both teams walked away with one point added to their league standings.

The week leading up the game was loaded with speculation about how interaction of the two teams would play out on the field. It was not about who was going to win, it was about the feelings and emotions of playing the team that now has Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger, both ex-Spirit players who were fan favorites.

None of that showed on the field when the match started.  It was a match of professional athletes doing their best to win the game for their team.


Spirit loses their home opener to North Carolina Courage, 1-0

xCorner Kick-Shelina Zadorsky  Stephanie LabbeShelina Zadorsky (4) blocks Jessica McDonald to protect goalkeeper Stephanie Labbe.   PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  


The Washington Spirit (0-1-0) did not have a good weekend. After winning all their pre-season games against college powerhouses, they dropped their home opener Saturday, 1-0, to the team formerly known as Western New York Flash now the North Carolina Courage (1-0-0), the same team to whom they lost last year’s league championship last fall.
Based on the time of ball possession and the high number of shots on goal, 21 by the Courage, and a lonely 4 by the Washington Spirit, our local team should be thrilled they lost by only one point.
How did the Spirit not lose by more? The answer is Stephanie Labbé , the Spirit’s keeper. She was the star on the field against the Courage.




D.C. United picks up another home win against NY

20170408 DC United-100D.C. United's Jose Ortiz uses New York City Football Club's Andrea Pirlo to gain height in a header battle. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

D.C. United continued their home field-winning ways with the final score 2-1 over the New York City Football Club this past Saturday.
In the Major League Soccer standings, D.C. United picked up another three points, which moved them onto a level with four other teams in the Eastern Conference, who also have seven points each. This is a long way from the single point they were carrying just a few weeks ago. Columbus Crew SC currently leads the conference with 10 points.


DC United picks up the pace and three tough points


201700401 United vs Union 97DC United midfielder Julian Büscher battles for the ball with Philadelphia Union player. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

D.C. United scored their first two regular-season goals this past Saturday against the Philadelphia Union. The final score of the game was 2-1, with DC United coming out on top.
Missing their star forward, Patrick Mullins, D.C. United created more goals without him than they did all season. Keep in mind the match against the Philadelphia Union was only the fourth of the season. The win on Saturday moved D.C. United into ninth place out of 11 teams in the Eastern Conference. They have four points now.
The match started out with D.C. United being on top of their offensive game. Fans were looking to Jose Ortiz to fill the spot of Mullins, who is out with a hamstring injury. Ortiz did not fail to meet fan expectations. In the 18th minute of the first half, Ortiz made a shot that was deflected by the Union’s Richie Marquez and past the Union keeper Andre Blake.
Argentinian acquisition Luciano Acosta, a midfielder, was showing why he was a great choice for D.C. United by breaking up Union opportunities and carving out opportunities for the D.C. United attack. He put his mark on the match in the first half by scoring his first goal of the season. The goal was on a spot kick awarded after an arm violation in the box. Taking the kick, Acosta buried a rocket shot deep into the net on the left side.
At the end of the first half, the score was 2-0.


Washington Spirit continues to improve with another win

x20170325 Spirit vs UNC soccer-Cheyna Williams-5Cheyna Williams had a standout game for the Spirit. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

LEESBURG, VA. -- The Washington Spirit, playing their first-ever preseason game in Northern Virginia, outplayed the University of North Carolina women’s soccer team 5 to nil at the Evergreen Sportsplex.

Late spectators who managed to get tickets to the sellout event found themselves parking in a field instead of one of the already-filled paved lots. The official capacity of the location is 2,000 people. It was standing room only by the start of the match.

Missed connections and poor ball movement dominated the first 30 minutes of the match. The Spirit’s passes were off target, and the movement of the ball was not well coordinated. The team was playing a system using three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards.  It was the same system used at the end of last season. It needs improvement to fit with the team. Head coach Jim Gabarra said, “That was a system we went to at the end. It’s been pretty good. We need to work on it.”