top of page

Spirit clash with Pride in Challenge Cup


J.J. Pavlick

PHOTO CREDIT: Washington Spirit

The matchup sees two teams on different paths this season, Washington who is unbeaten in the regular season will look to punish the Pride after they suffered a loss to Gotham in their only Cup match so far. The lineups show a ton of youth will be on the pitch tonight. The Spirit will start Chloe Ricketts for the first time this season, she has grown more and more each time she touches the pitch. She has the talent to be a star in this league and I'm sure the 15-year-old will be a household name soon. The Pride unfortunately is no longer a powerhouse in the league, the franchise has had its issues for a while now, and outside of Brazilian star Marta have little to offer fans this season.

The Pride came out strong to start the first half, scoring the match's first goal just 10' in when defender Tori Elizabeth Hansen missed timed her header attempt only to find the ball fall right behind her foot and she backheeled it into the net towards the 2nd post. Orlando would maintain control of the game until the Spirit midfield started to crank up the pressure and take the game over. The Spirit would start the response on goals in the 33' when Lena Silano found the back of the net from distance going low 2nd post for the tying goal. Just four minutes later Sam Stabb would take a free kick right of the goal about 27 yards from goal and she hit a beaut, she sent a screaming bender inside the 2nd post over the outstretched diving keeper of the Pride to take a 2 - 1 lead in the 37'. If that wasn't enough, we get another 1st career goal scored in the match this time it's Marissa Sheva with the insane shot to the 1st post from way out hitting the upper 90 off an assist from Chloe Ricketts who danced through the Pride defense. (Photo Credit: Washington Spirit)

We have now seen 3 players get their first career goals in this match (Orlando Prides Tori Hansen and Washington's Lena Silano and Marissa Sheva). Sheva during this week's press conference talked about her friendship with Gotham FC's Sinead Farrelly. The two not only play for Ireland's national team but they grew up in the same town in Pennsylvania and their brothers played soccer together for the same club. Sheva and Farrelly also played for the same club just a few years apart as Farrelly is just slightly older than Sheva. Sheva wished Farrelly all the success in the world, briefly talking about Farrelly leaving the game and unretiring this season. She looks forward to more matches with and against Farrelly in her career. There was one additional minute added to the half, Sheva nearly found the back of the net from distance again in the dying moments of the half.

The match has been filled with action and lots of sand flying around the pitch. At the end of one, the shot count is 7 - 2 in favor of the home side Spirit. I would expect some substitutions at half by at least the Pride to try and regain the momentum they lost late in the first half. The first half also saw some controversy earlier in the half when the Spirit saw their player knocked down in the box, it appeared to be enough for a penalty kick, but the center didn't make the call.

Both teams make changes at the half with Orlando bringing on Messiah Bright for Haley Bugeja and Washington bringing on Ines Jaurena for Paige Metayer, Tara McKeown for Sam Stabb, and Riley Tanner for Chloe Ricketts. Orlando wasted no time and scored in the 49' when A. Watt takes on the Washington backline 1 v 2 and scored 1st post to make it a 3 - 2 game now with plenty of time left. The Sam Stabb sub came back to haunt Washington fast; the midfield turned the ball over and the backline paid the price. Big save by Collins to keep the score 3 - 2, Biegalski didn't miss by much going for the far 2nd post. The rebound was called offside otherwise the Spirit had a golden chance to extend the lead again. Ashley Hatch came on in the 61' for Kuhlmann, and Orlando counters bringing on M. Morris for Amanda Allen. The Spirit settled down the game after the latest substitution and we eventually saw Sanchez come on as well for the Spirit later in the half. Sanchez hit a screamer into the wide-open goal from a distance of approx. 35 yards out to make it 4 - 2 in the 90'+5'. Washington gets their first points in the Challenge Cup and now sits behind Gotham in second place.

bottom of page