Spirit Leave Chi-Town with a Draw
The match was set up to be an epic battle between the undefeated Washington Spirit and the now-surging Red Stars of Chicago. Chicago was dealt a major blow this season when veteran striker Mal Pugh Swanson went down with a knee injury during her campaign with the USWNT in their series against Ireland. Mal had been on a goal-scoring tear at the time of her injury having netted 8 goals in 9 games. While their record isn't great, Chicago has seen St George stepping up to provide the offense the team lost with Swanson going down. In their early success this season, Washington has seen goals from Hatch and Rodman. Washington also has seen more playing for their 15-year-old standout Chloe Rickett who has been impressive in her limited minutes so far this season.
The match was hard fought by both clubs, but it was Washington who got on the board first when Ella Stevens fouled Jaurena in the box in the 27', Hatch would step up after the VAR review was completed and drilled a perfect ball into the upper 90 on the 1st post just past the outstretched arms of Alyssa Naeher in the 29'. Washington would, unfortunately, give up the tying goal minutes later when the Red Stars found a lapse in attention between the backs and placed a solid through ball into the area for Bianca St. George to finish low 2nd post in the 33' of the match, Ally Schlegel picked up the assist on the goal. Washington would dominate the 1st half of play but was unable to find the back of the net again in the half. Mark will be happy with the effort but I'm sure he will push them to keep going and finish the final pass to take the victory they so deserve after that half of play.
The second half saw wide-open play with both teams attacking in waves, but Washington controlled the game. Washington had numerous chances to grab the lead, but Chicago did just enough to keep the final ball from finding the net. Alyssa Naeher was phenomenal as usual coming up big for her side often in the match to keep the highly skilled Spirit side off the sheet in the second half. Spirit head coach Parsons will be happy with the effort but also knows his side deserved to leave with 3 points last night instead of 1. Washington remains unbeaten in league play this season; the team's only blemish was a late goal conceded against Gotham in the Challenge Cup.
Washington will next face Alex Morgan and the San Diego Wave on May 6th at home in D.C. should be a great match between two solid sides.
PHOTO CREDIT: WASHINGTON SPIRIT