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Spirit Fall to Pride in Orlando


J.J. Pavlick

Washington Spirit team photo
Photo Credit: Washington Spirit

The Washington Spirit entered the match in first place after defeating the San Diego Wave 3 - 1 back on May 6th. The team then went to Los Angeles and knocked off Angel City on a late-minute penalty kick 90'+4' converted by none other than Ashley Hatch. The penalty was earned when phenom Marissa Sheva took a shot at goal and Angel City's Mary Alic Vignola forgot she wasn't the goalkeeper for the match and blocked the shot with her arm extended far from her body. Why the VAR check took a bit is still confusing when every angle including the one from the International Space Station shows her arm fully extended and above her head. If you ask Marc Parsons, he will be the first to tell you this team is having success, but they still haven't hit their full potential. That statement is scary given they enter today's match against Orlando having never lost a regular season match this season. The only defeat to this point was against Gotham FC in the Challenge Cup another team turning heads this season and up next for this Spirit squad following tonight's match.

The match started off seeing both sides fighting for possession and space, neither side really putting any balls into danger then in the 22' Adriana took Brooks 1 v 1 into the box, Brooks had the angle then Adriana turned on the jets, and instead of Brooks staying on her feet she went for the risky slide tackle and missed badly getting only Adriana and not even close to the ball. Marta immediately grabbed the ball and went to the spot. The Brazilian legend wasn't passing up the opportunity to score her first goal since October 2021. In the 23' the ref gave to go-ahead, and Marta got Kingsbury to go the wrong direction and slid the ball in low 2nd post for the goal and gave Orlando a 1-0 lead early. Washington would respond by tying the match, in the 27' when they got a corner kick, they took it short, and Ines Jaurena took the short ball and sent in a killer cross that was headed by star Sam Stabb.

Stabb Celebration with teammates after goal
Photo Credit: Washington Spirit

The half would end with both sides tied up 1 - 1, and there is no love lost between the sides in this match. Will say Orlando has been diving a good bit this match which makes the game feel more like a men's game which is brutally ugly. The women's game is usually filled with toughness and staying on your feet battling through adversity.

The second half saw both sides with golden opportunities to take the lead throughout the half, especially from Washington who could easily be up 4 - 1 in the 56' of the game, but Moorehouse has stood on her head denying shots from all over the 18-yard box. Hatch leaves the match in the 70' without scoring a goal, a rarity especially when she plays against Orlando. Hatch, who entered the match with goals in six consecutive games versus the Orlando Pride (an NWSL record for consecutive games with a goal against a single opponent), finished the game without a shot. In the 77' Orlando with a stunner off a corner kick. Strom beat her mark to the ball and snuck it just inside the 2nd post for her first goal of the season. In the 90' Moorehouse came up big for the Pride again, Washington played a perfect ball to the 2nd post and had the numbers, however, Moorehouse was able to squeeze between and bring down the ball before anyone could head it home. The Washington Spirit had numerous chances to win the match, however, Moorehouse was the difference in this one. The match would end in the Pride's favor and hand the Spirit their first regular-season loss of the regular season. Next up for the Spirit will be NY/NJ Gotham FC during Memorial Day weekend on May 28 at 5:00 P.M. EST.

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