Portland, Ore. (July 22, 2017) – The Washington Spirit (3-8-3, 12 pts) dropped a 2-1 decision on the road against Portland Thorns FC (7-4-4, 25 pts) Saturday night at Providence Park in front of 18,478 fans.
Following a scoreless first half, the Spirit took the lead less than 13 minutes into the second half on a 58th minute tap-in goal by Havana Solaun. The former Seattle Reign player in her first year with the Spirit netted her fourth goal of the season, coming up with the loose ball following a cross sent in from the right wing by U.S. international Mallory Pugh.
However, Portland was able to equalize just four minutes later on a strike by U.S. international Allie Long. Following a free kick by Emily Sonnett sent into a crowd along the right side of the box, Tyler Lussi headed the ball over to Long, who was waiting near the back post for a close range goal.
Thorns FC found the game winner in the 80th minute on another goal from point blank range, as Ashleigh Sykes assisted second half substitute Mallory Weber’s right-footed finish into the bottom left corner of the net.
Washington continued to create scoring chances for the rest of the game seeking an equalizer, with Pugh and second half substitute Cheyna Williams each generating close range shot attempts. Pugh’s shot, headed inside the top left corner of the net, was saved on a one-handed effort by Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch.
In stoppage time, Williams was able to elevate for a header, attempting to finish off a service sent in from Whitney Church on a free kick taken from the edge of the attacking third, but the shot went just high.
Washington outshot Portland 15-2 overall, and put six shots on target to Thorns FC’s three, but a six-save effort from Franch limited the Spirit to the lone goal.
Kristie Mewis led the Spirit with four shots, two of which were on target, followed by Pugh with three shots and also two on target. Midfielder Meggie Dougherty Howard led Washington with 48 total passes and had a team-high 83.3 percent passing accuracy.
Forward Cali Farquharson made her first appearance for Washington since completing her recovery from an ACL tear sustained in September 2016. Farquharson came on for Mewis in the 85th minute.
The entire NWSL will be off next week for a brief international break, as the U.S. Women’s National Team hosts Australia, Brazil and Japan for the Tournament of Nations from July 27 – August 3.
The Spirit will return to action on Friday, August 4 for a road game against Sky Blue FC at Yurcak Field in New Jersey.
After a midweek stop in Orlando on August 8, Washington’s next home game will be on Saturday, August 12 when the Spirit hosts the Boston Breakers in the NWSL Lifetime Game of the Week at the Maryland SoccerPlex. [TICKETS]