Boyds, Md (April 6, 2014) - The Washington Spirit ended their preseason with a 7-0 shutout against the University of Maryland to benefit the Headers for Hope charity on Saturday evening.
International striker Jodie Taylor led the team in goals with a hat trick. The first goal of the night came in the 15th minute of the first half. Crystal Dunn passed the ball to the center of the box finding Taylor unmarked. Taylor easily chipped the ball into goal. Within five minutes, the Spirit were back on the attack in the UMD box. They constant pressure paid off with another Spirit goal. This time it came from defender Robyn Gayle of off a set piece. Midfielder Diana Matheson took the corner kick. The ball was not cleared and with several players jostling in the box, Gayle was able to head the ball into goal much to the delight of Spirit supporters.
UMD played a very physical game but was not able to create chances. Having already assisted in a goal, Dunn claimed a goal for the Spirit in the 30th minute assisted by Matheson. Within two minutes Matheson was back on the attack. Not wasting any time she had a ran through from a pass and tactically shot it passed UMD goalkeeper Rachelle Beanlands. In the 33rd Beanlands was able to redeem herself by making a great save. Matheson took a shot from the 15-yard line. The ball went high and to the right. Beanlands leapt to make the save. The first half ended with four points for the Washington Spirit.
Washington made two substitutions at the start of the second half. Recently signed defender Bianca Sierra came in for Gayle and striker Renae Cuéllar replaced Crystal Dunn. This was Dunn’s first start in the preseason.
The match became more heated and the aggressive style of play continued in the second half. The Spirit were more organized and connected more in their passing in the midfield. In the 60th minute two key substitutions were made by the general manger and head coach Mark Parsons. Midfielder Christine Nairn replaced Lori Lindsey and Yael Averbuch came in for recently signed midfielder Jordan Angeli. With fresh legs on the pitch Washington pressed on.
UMD was awarded a free kick from a foul in the 68th minute. Midfielder Erika Joab took the kick and was able to get through the wall, however, the ball went directly into Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris’ hands. That proved to be the only chance UMD would get to get on the scoreboard.
The first goal of the second half came at the 71st minute scored by Taylor. Danish defender Cecilie Sandvej sent a cross to Taylor who headed the ball into goal. Averbuch not only changed the speed of the game but also took risks. In the 82nd Averbuch sent a strong shot from 35 yards out. The pace of the ball was no match for Beanlands. The last goal of the evening came in the 90th minute. Striker Cuellar was able to head the ball into the box to Taylor who with a soft touch was able to put the ball in the back of the net making it a hat trick for the English striker.
The charity match hosted by Headers for Hope benefited the Ulman Cancer Fund. All proceeds were donated to this great cause. The Washington Spirit will meet rivals Western New York Flash next Sunday, April 13th at 4:00pm. Come out and see your Washington Spirit face off against the 2013 NWSL regular season champions.
Purchase tickets online here.
Washington Spirit: A.Harris, R.Gayle, C.Sandvej, T.Huster, T.Pressley, L.Lindsey, J.Angeli, D.Matheson, C.Dunn, D.Adams, J.Taylor
UMD: C.Ryan, S.Fichtner, R.Barger, A.Doody, E.Nelson, A.Anthony, S.Molina, A.Gerlitz, A.Prior-Brown, R.Beanlands, S.Collins