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Orlando Pride defeat Washington Spirit with shocking long-distance goal

Spirit defender Whitney Church and Pride forward Alex Morgan follow up on splitting a header. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFESpirit defender Whitney Church and Pride forward Alex Morgan follow up on splitting a header. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  BOYDS — For the Washington Spirit (2-8-4), winless in the last 5 matches, it was another swing and a miss, this time against the Orlando Pride (6-3-4), who defeated the Spirit 1-0.
Early in the match, the 11th minute, the Pride shocked the Spirit, everyone in the stadium, and those watching on TV, with a half-pitch-long shot that sailed untouched into the back of the net. Pride defender Alanna Kennedy was the one with the heavy boot to score the goal. Kennedy took advantage of the entire Spirit defense crowding the midfield line with keeper Bledsoe high out of her box. Bledsoe made a superhuman attempt to stop the shot but it was an inch or so too high for her. For the Pride, the goal marked why soccer is called the beautiful game.
That surprise long-distance goal would be the only goal of the match, enough to bring the Pride three additional points in the standings and rob the Spirit of any additional points. The Pride now stand at second place in the National Women’s Soccer League point rankings. They are climbing the ladder with their sixth straight win on the road.
The Pride came to the pitch with a fully-loaded starting lineup and the bench strength to back it up, but not the Spirit.

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Washington Spirit wounds Orlando’s Pride, 2-0

Washington Spirit’s Mallory Pugh (11) moves the ball deftly towards the goal with Orlando Pride’s Ali Krieger (11) right behind her trying to end the run. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEWashington Spirit’s Mallory Pugh (11) moves the ball deftly towards the goal with Orlando Pride’s Ali Krieger (11) right behind her trying to end the run. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  In a startling outcome, the Washington Spirit (1-1-0) outplayed the Orlando Pride (0-1-1) this past Saturday in a 2-0 win over the visiting Orlando team. Playing in front of 4,989 spectators, the Spirit played a back-and-forth match of relatively even moves with the Pride until the 80th minute.
The Pride, failing to mark U.S. international player Mallory Pugh as tightly as they had earlier in the match, opened a canyon of space for Pugh. Pugh, with possession of the ball off a pass from Ashely Hatch, did what she usually does: maneuver the ball faster and better than everyone else on the pitch.
Pugh outran the Pride’s Alex Krieger, who was closing in from behind. She outpaced,Canadian international player Shelina Zadorsky, the Pride’s center back defender, who ran parallel to Pugh but unable to get close enough. At the last moment of open space between her and the net, she lit off a shot that nutmegged keeper Ashlyn Harris and stopped in the back of the net. She scored the first goal of the match in the 80th minute. The Spirit were ahead 1-0 over the Pride.

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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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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 dominates Orlando 2-0 in emotional game

20160618 Sprit vs Pride-6Spirit forward Francisca Ordega makes a run along the near sideline.          PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

BOYDS – In front of more than 5,700 fans packed SoccerPlex Saturday, the Washington Spirit defeated the visiting Orlando Spirit 2-0 in one of the most emotionally compelling games played at Maureen Hendrick Field.

The game came six days after a gunman killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando.

There was a break in the action at the 49th minute as Spirit Head Coach and General Manager Jim Gabarra raised his hand and play stopped.

Fans rose up and clapped in memory of those who lost their lives in Orlando and in recognition of support for those who survived.

For that one moment the whole stadium of people were united.

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