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Spirit back on the bottom again

On Saturday, the Washington Spirit (4-9-4) took on the Boston Breakers (3-7-7). A win would have moved the Spirit into eighth place. Instead they came up with a 2-2 draw, dropping them back into last place in the league. While the Spirit has 16 points, the same number as the Boston Breakers, their larger negative goal differential, -7, puts them back on the bottom. It’s hard to see a team with a storied reputation for being formidable league leaders sitting at the bottom of the rankings.
The Spirit has played matches where it looks like they are going to turn a corner towards stringing some wins together. Most recently they played Sky Blue FC on Saturday, Aug. 4. They won that match 4-1. All four Spirit goals were in the second half showing off their physical stamina and mental willingness to play hard until the end.
Four days later, the team who had just crushed Sky Blue FC is playing the Orlando Pride in Orlando. Orlando, like Washington was coming into this match with only four days since their last match. The Pride controlled the pitch and left the Spirit with zero goals while scoring three of their own. Orlando added three points to their standings, the Spirit added none.

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Okay . . . we’ll call it a draw - Spirit vs. Pride

1010 20170708 Spirit vs PrideOrlando’s Alex Morgan and The Spirit’s Estelle Johnson (24) match strides during Morgan's attack on goal getting off her shot. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  BOYDS — The Washington Spirit took on the Orlando Pride this past Saturday in front of a home crowd of over 5200. At the end of the match, it was a draw, earning both teams one point in the league standings.
In the 10th minute of the match a penalty kick was awarded to the Pride. Brazilian soccer player Marta took the shot and put the Pride up 1-0 over the Spirit. Head coach Jim Gabarra said it was an “unearned penalty” that put the Pride up so early in the game.
For the next 10 minutes, the Spirit looked a bit flat. Marta went the other way and used the goal to energize herself. It was not very long, 10 minutes or so further into the match it all changed.

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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

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.

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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.

 

 

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Washington Spirit roster looks to the fountain of youth

Washington Spirit Logo

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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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 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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