Photo Credit: Tony Quinn/ISI Photos
BOYDS, Md (Sept 30, 2016) – A game-winning goal in the 111th minute by Francisca Ordega vaulted the Washington Spirit to a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over the Chicago Red Stars on Friday night, as 4,249 fans packed the Maryland SoccerPlex for an NWSL semifinal match.
After the teams played to a 1-1 stalemate in the first 90 minutes of play, the Spirit defense clamped down and Ordega provided the big score, finishing off a beautifully-placed pass along the in-line from midfielder Christine Nairn.
In regulation, the teams traded scores with the Spirit controlling possession and eventually finding the net during the first half, and the Red Stars doing the same in the second.
The Spirit struck first on a powerful header by U.S. Women’s National Team star Ali Krieger, taking the lead in the 36th minute. Krieger bolted into the box and was hit perfectly in stride with an aerial pass from Shelina Zadorsky, heading the ball in before the defense had time to react.
“It was a team win and you could see that from the goals that we scored. They involved the entire team,” Krieger said. “That’s what’s been so great about the season for us. We play for each other, we respect each other, and you can see that in how we perform.”
Washington closed out a relatively one-sided first half effort with five corner kicks compared to none for the Red Stars and did not allow a Chicago shot on goal until the closing minutes of the period.
Chicago began clicking offensively in the second half, winning the possession battle and stringing together several deep runs with Team USA forward Christen Press leading the attack. Following a save by Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys on a Danielle Colaprico shot in the 69th minute, and an offside by Chicago in the 78th, the Red Stars finally got on the board with an 81st minute equalizer by Press.
Press scored the short range goal on an assist from Casey Short, working her way deep into the box and connecting on the shot with only a tight window to navigate.
With the game tied at 1-1, the Red Stars continued to push the tempo, as Press took two more shots on goal in the final 12 minutes of regulation and stoppage time. The first came in the 85th minute, as the Chicago captain missed wide.
In stoppage time, Press had an empty net opportunity after she beat Wys with a stop-and-go move, but her shot bounced off the left post.
After dodging a bullet in the final moments of regulation, the Spirit took charge during extra time and stamped their ticket to Houston with team-wide execution on both sides of the pitch.
Washington will face either the Portland Thorns or Western New York Flash in the title match on Sunday, October 9 at 5 p.m. ET. The NWSL Final will be played at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars
Date: September 30, 2016
Venue: Maureen Hendricks Field
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Weather: Rain, 58
Washington Spirit Lineup: 18- Kelsey Wys; 3- Caprice Dydasco, 5 – Whitney Church, 11- Ali Krieger, 6- Shelina Zadorsky; 7- Christine Nairn, 15- Joanna Lohman (8- Diana Matheson 70′), 23- Tori Huster; 14 – Francisca Ordega (4- Megan Oyster 114′), 19 – Crystal Dunn, 10- Estefania Banini (12- Katie Stengel 88′)
Subs not used: 1- Stephanie Labbé, 24- Estelle Johnson, 27 – Line Sigvardsen Jensen, 22 – Alyssa Kleiner
Head coach: Jim Gabarra
Chicago Red Stars Lineup: 1-Alyssa Naeher; 3- Arin Gilliland, 8 – Julie Johnston, 16- Sam Johnson, 6- Casey Short; 10- Vanessa DiBernardo (5- Katie Naughton, 88′), 24- Danielle Colaprico, 7- Taylor Comeau (13- Amanda Da Costa, 70′ (Katie Naughton 114′)); 11- Sofia Huerta, 23 – Christen Press, 12 – Cara Walls (9- Stephanie McCaffrey 65′)
Subs not used: 14- Sarah Gorden, 15- Courtney Raetzman, 2- Jen Hoy, 4 – Alyssa Mautz, 18 – Michele Dalton
Head Coach: Rory Dames
|Chicago Red Stars||0||1||0||1|
|1||36||Washington||Ali Krieger||Shelina Zadorsky|
|2||81||Chicago||Christen Press||Casey Short|
|3||111||Washington||Francisca Ordega||Christine Nairn|
|57||Washington||7||Christine Nairn||Yellow Card||Tactical Foul|
|122||Chicago||16||Samantha Johnson||Yellow Card||Defensive Handling|
Stats Summary: WAS/CHI
Shots on Goal: 5/4
Corner Kicks: 8/3
Referee: Danielle Chesky
Assistant Referees: Adrienne McDonald, Cory Richardson
Fourth Official: Christopher Spivey