Boyds, MD (June 3, 2017) – The Washington Spirit earned a 2-0 win over the visiting Houston Dash in front of 3,096 fans on Saturday evening at the Maryland SoccerPlex. A third minute strike from forward Cheyna Wiliams opened the scoring for the Spirit, and 19-year-old U.S. international Mallory Pugh netted her historic first professional goal in the 69th minute in just her second career start. With the goal, Pugh becomes the youngest scorer in NWSL history.
Williams found the net for the first time this season on one of the opening possessions of the game, receiving a perfectly-placed through ball from Havana Solaun and bursting into the box before sending a low shot past Dash goalkeeper Lydia Williams inside the far post. Solaun, who leads the Spirit with three goals scored on the season, notched her first assist of the season on the play.
Pugh added the second half insurance goal for Washington, receiving a well-timed pass from Kristie Mewis on the left side of the box and firing a shot through the legs of the keeper. Solaun, who threaded the ball into Mewis, was credited with the second assist on the play.
Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé piled up seven saves in the victory, as she and the Washington back line recorded their first clean sheet of the season. The Canadian international and 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medalist now leads the NWSL with 39 saves on the season.
In a strong two-way performance, rookie Arielle Ship led the Spirit with 10 tackles. Defender Alyssa Kleiner had a team-high eight clearances, while Shelina Zadorsky and Williams tied for the team lead with three interceptions each. Meggie Dougherty Howard led Washington’s field players with 39 total passes. Pugh’s four total shots and two on-target attempts were both team-highs for the Spirit.
“I thought our whole team defended really well,” said Spirit head coach and general manager Jim Gabarra. “Offensively I thought our speed and our dynamic movement up front kind of overwhelmed them.”
Houston and Washington combined for 32 total shots in the high-paced game, with the Dash recording 18. Janine Beckie led the Dash with three on-target shots and six total. U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder Morgan Brian led all players for both teams with 61 total passes at an 86.9 percent accuracy rate.
All 10 NWSL teams will be on bye week next weekend as the league pauses for a brief international break. Four Spirit players – Pugh (USA), Labbé (Canada), Zadorsky (Canada) and Lindsay Agnew (Canada) have been called into their respective national team camps for a set of upcoming friendlies.
Washington will return to NWSL play on Saturday, June 17 for an away game against the Chicago Red Stars in the NWSL on Lifetime Game of the Week. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET from Toyota Park.
The Spirit’s next home game will be on Saturday, June 24 against Portland Thorns FC. [TICKETS]
Tickets for all Washington Spirit home games are available now at Tickets.WashingtonSpirit.com.
NWSL Match Report
Match: Washington Spirit vs Houston Dash
Date: June 3, 2017
Venue: Maryland SoccerPlex
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET
Weather: Clear, 70s
63’ HOU – Amber Brooks (Yellow)
WAS: Williams (Solaun) 3’
WAS: Pugh (Mewis, Solaun) 69’
Goals 1 2 F
Washington Spirit (2-5-1) 1 1 2
Houston Dash (2-6-0) 0 0 0
Washington Spirit: Labbe, Zadorsky (c), Kleiner, Johnson, Church, Solaun, Williams (81’ Sigvardsen Jensen), Dougherty Howard, Ship (64’ Ordega), Pugh, Mewis (89’ Castleberry)
Substitutes Not Used: Kallman, Agnew, Haracic, Stengel
Houston Dash: Williams, Daly, Roccaro, Levin, Brooks, Andressa, Brian, O’Sullivan (80’ Hagen), Beckie, Prince (67’ Poliana), Ohai
Substitutes Not Used: Campbell, Falknor, Privett, Heap, van Wyk