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Washington Spirit falls to North Carolina Courage 4-2 on Saturday night at Maryland SoccerPlex

Boyds, MD (April 14, 2018) – The Washington Spirit (1-2-0, 3 pts.) fell 4-2 to the North Carolina Courage (3-0-0, 9 pts.) Saturday night at the Maryland SoccerPlex.

U.S. international forward Mallory Pugh opened up the scoring for Washington in just the 3rd minute of play, connecting on a right-footed shot from the center of the box. Pugh recovered a loose ball off a deflection in the box and placed the shot in the top right corner of the goal, just past Courage goalkeeper Sabrina D’Angelo for the 1-0 lead. [WATCH]

The Courage responded with two unanswered goals in a span of four minutes by Crystal Dunn and McCall Zerboni to take a 2-1 lead by the 24th minute. Dunn leveled the game in the 20th minute on a goal assisted by Jessica McDonald, and Zerboni found the net in the 24th minute from close range on a strike assisted by Lynn Williams.

Early in the second half, Zerboni added to the Courage lead in the 48th minute with a close range shot past Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe for her second goal of the game.

After 54 minutes of play, Spirit midfielder Havana Solaun entered as a substitute and immediately inserted herself into the offense. After just four minutes on the field, Solaun threaded a pass through three Courage defenders to Francisca Ordega, who planted a shot past D’Angelo to pull the Spirit within one goal. [WATCH]

Despite Washington controlling 55.8 percent of the possession and taking five shots in the second half, North Carolina put the game out of reach in the 66th minute with a goal by Williams, set up by an assist from Dunn. Williams’ goal pushed the lead back to 4-2, which held for the remaining 24 minutes.

Pugh led the Spirit with three shots, while Ordega recorded two. The Spirit controlled the overall time of possession with 50.9 percent and were outshot 16-8.

Spirit defenders Caprice Dydasco, Estelle Johnson, Whitney Church, and Taylor Smith each played the full 90 minutes for the third time this season.

Washington will return to action on Friday, April 20 on the road against Portland Thorns FC. Kickoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET at Providence Park.

The Spirit returns home on Saturday, April 28 to host the Chicago Red Stars for another 7 p.m. kickoff at the Maryland SoccerPlex. [TICKETS]

Box Score:

Lineups:
WAS: Aubrey Bledsoe, Caprice Dydasco, Whitney Church, Taylor Smith, Estelle Johnson (c), Andi Sullivan, Mallory Pugh (Tori Huster, 75’), Joanna Lohman (Havana Solaun, 54’), Francisca Ordega, Mallory Eubanks (Meggie Dougherty Howard, 66’), Ashley Hatch

Subs: Morgan Proffitt, Cali Farquharson, DiDi Haracic, Tiifany Weimer

NCC: Sabrina D’Angelo, Jaelene Hinkle, Abby Erceg, Abby Dahlkemper, Merritt Mathias (Allysha Chapman, 71’), Crystal Dunn, McCall Zerboni, Denise O’Sullivan, Kristen Hamilton (Meredith Speck, 84’), Lynn Williams, Jessica McDonald (Darian Jenkins, 67’)

Subs: Cari Roccaro, Katelyn Rowland, Samantha Mewis, Kaleigh Kurtz

Score:
WAS: 2
NCC: 4

Goals:
WAS: Pugh (unassisted, 3’), Ordega (Solaun, 58’)
NCC: Dunn (McDonald, 20’), Zerboni (McDonald, 24’), Zerboni (Hamilton, 48’), Williams (Dunn, 66’)

Cautions:
WAS: Johnson (84’)
NCC: –

Ejections:
WAS: –
NCC: –

Attendance: 3,458