Boyds, Md. (July 3, 2013) – The Washington Spirit received a late equalizer on a penalty kick by Diana Matheson to snap a five-game skid and earn a draw against FC Kansas City on Wednesday at the Maryland SoccerPlex in front of a crowd of 2,467.
“It was a positive start,” Matheson said of the team’s first game under new head coach Mark Parsons. “We’re in a position where we can build off this.”
Matheson took the spot kick in the 87th minute after forward Tiffany McCarty was taken down on a tackle at the far edge of the box. The Canadian National Team midfielder sent a high chip shot over the head of Kansas City keeper Nicole Barnhart, who guessed left.
Washington’s equalizer came after trailing for the majority of the second half. The Blues broke the scoring open in the 55th minute on a goal by Erika Tymrak, her fourth of the season. Tymrak’s strike came from in-close on an assist from Merritt Mathias.
“I was really pleased with the performance, especially given our missed chances in the first half and going down in the second,” Parsons said. “With how our confidence shot up after the equalizer, imagine if we’d gone up earlier.”
The teams played a scoreless, defense-dominated first half with a total of just five shots. The offenses found life in the second half, as Washington mustered five shots and Kansas City reeled off six. McCarty nearly equalized for D.C. in the 65th minute, when she received a no-look pass from Matheson streaking into the box but would miss an open shot wide left.
The Spirit (1-7-4) broke a five-match scoreless streak (543 minutes) with the late Matheson penalty and earned their first point since a 4-2 win over Seattle on May 16.
FC Kansas City (7-4-3) remains in third place with the draw, their 24 points two behind Portland Thorns FC and two ahead of the Western New York Flash.
Washington returns to action on Saturday, July 6, to face Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field Stadium in Piscataway, N.J. The team returns home on Wednesday, July 10, to host the Chicago Red Stars at 7:30 p.m. ET for the teams’ first of three regular season meetings.