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The Washington Spirit dull the Thorns

1010b 20170624 Spirit vs ThornsThorns’ Amandine Henry (28) goes one-on-one with the Spirit's Cheyna Williams (20). Williams won possession but committed a foul, forcing a turnover of the ball over to the Thorns.    PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEOn a gorgeous Saturday evening at Maureen Hendricks Field in Boyds, the Washington Spirit (3-5-2) defeated the Portland Thorns (4-3-3) 1-0 in front of 4,319 spectators.
Let me reemphasize that statement. The Spirit won! That makes three matches in a row where they have not been defeated this season. This is the best knitting of undefeated games by the Spirit yet this season. As a result, the Spirit is moving up in the standings as their injured players return to form on the pitch and the team continues to gel as an organized unit.

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Spirit earns a draw against Orlando and former teammates

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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.

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Washington Spirit roster looks to the fountain of youth

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The newest players being considered for full-time positions on the Washington Spirit’s professional soccer team are young. They are not the names you would know from watching the USA Women’s National Soccer team.

Instead, they are stars coming off magnificent amateur careers in college and the national age bracket teams. After the end of the 2016 season for the National Women’s Soccer League, the Spirit made several trades of fan favorite players. The trades irked a section of their fan base that was very vocal on social media about their unhappiness with the trades.

Yes, players with recognized names like Krieger, Dunn, and Matheson would not be back playing for the Spirit in 2017.

What could be the motive for such a dramatic change?

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The American team suffers a defeat at the hands of England and France

US WNT vs. FranceU.S. Women's midfielder Allie Long (20) gets in front of France's Eugenie Le Sommer to break her attack in the 2017 She Believes Cup at RFK Stadium. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE

After England’s national women’s team defeated the US Women’s National team last weekend, the first time ever that England has defeated the US team on their home field, one would not have thought that France would do the same on Tuesday, March 7.

The Women’s National Team from France, coached by Olivier Echouafni, doused the US Women’s team 3-0. By the 11th minute, France was up 2 to nil. The steady rain on the field seemed to wash away the indomitable strength of the US Women’s backline. France owned the pitch. 

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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 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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