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Washington Spirit edged 3-2 by visiting North Carolina Courage

Boyds, MD (August 30, 2017) – The Washington Spirit (4-12-4, 16 pts) fell 3-2 to the visiting North Carolina Courage (14-5-0, 42 pts) on Wednesday night in front of a crowd of 2,365 fans at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

Washington took an early lead on a put-back goal by Argentine international Estefanía Banini, who tapped in a deflected save by Courage goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland following an initial shot from forward Cheyna Williams. The goal was Banini’s first of the season. [WATCH]

Just before halftime, North Carolina managed to level the score at 1-1 when U.S. international Sam Mewis placed a header into the top right corner of the net on a feed from her USA teammate Abby Dahlkemper.

U.S. international forward Jessica McDonald netted back-to-back goals in the second half to put North Carolina ahead, starting in the 61st minute on a header from the center of the box, finishing off a pass from U.S. international defender Jaelene Hinkle.

McDonald struck again in the 66th minute, sending a shot from the center of the box into the bottom right corner of the net. Another U.S. teammate, forward Lynn Williams, was credited with the assist on the play as Carolina took a 3-1 advantage.

The Spirit countered quickly, as Williams scored her fifth goal of the season in the 73rd minute on a tap-in from point blank range. The second-year forward won a race against a pair of Courage defenders to the front of the goal after Nigerian international forward Francisca Ordega sent a cross in from along the right wing. [WATCH]

Both defenses held strong the rest of the way, as the Courage held on for the narrow 3-2 win.

Washington will return to action on Saturday, September 2 for a road test against Portland Thorns FC in the NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week at Providence Park. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. ET.

The next Spirit home game will be on Saturday, September 23 when the team plays host to the Boston Breakers at 7 p.m. ET. [TICKETS]

Box Score:

Lineups:
WAS: DiDi Haracic; Alyssa Kleiner, Estelle Johnson (c) (Shelina Zadorsky, 52’) , Whitney Church, Caprice Dydasco; Tori Huster; Cali Farquharson (Francisca Ordega, 59’), Estefania Banini, Meggie Dougherty Howard, Mallory Pugh (Havana Solaun, 76’); Cheyna Williams
Subs not used: Kelsey Wys, Morgan Proffitt, Lindsay Agnew

NCC: Katelyn Rowland; Jaelene Hinkle, Abby Erceg (c), Abby Dahlkemper, Taylor Smith; McCall Zerboni, Sam Mewis, Denise O’Sullivan (Debinha,72’), Kristen Hamilton (Makenzy Doniak, 90’+); Lynn Williams, Jess McDonald (Ashley Hatch, 80’)
Subs not used: Caroline Stanley, Nora Holstad, Sam Witteman, Stephanie Ochs

Score:
WAS: 2
NCC: 3

Goals:
WAS: Estefania Banini (Unassisted, 8’), Cheyna Williams (Francisca Ordega, 73’)
NCC: Sam Mewis (Abby Dahlkemper, 45’+), Jess McDonald (Jaelene Hinkle, 61’, Lynn Williams. 66’)

Cautions:

NCC: —
WAS: Cali Farquharson (23’), Tori Huster (45’+)                                                                    

Ejections:
NCC: —
WAS: —

Attendance:
2,365