Washington D.C. (August 25, 2018) – The Washington Spirit come up just short in 1-0 loss to the Portland Thorns at Audi Field in front of a club record 7,976 fans.
Portland scored the lone goal of the night in the 15th minute after a cross from Hayley Raso found Tobin Heath in space on the left side of the box, where Heath was able to finish the chance into the top left corner. It was Heath’s sixth goal of the season.
Rose Lavelle showed her offensive abilities in midfield during the first 45 minutes, leading the Spirit in passing percentage with a 95.6 percent completion rate, racking up 26 total passes in the half.
At the other end of the field, captain Estelle Johnson caused headaches for opposing attackers, making five interceptions and winning possession 10 times, including a last ditch tackle on Thorns striker Ana Crnogorcevic, which prevented another scoring chance.
The Spirit’s best chance of the first half came from none other than Lavelle, who bent a left-footed shot from outside the box into the top right corner, forcing Thorns goalkeeper Adrianna Franch into a tough leaping save.
Caprice Dydasco was subbed on in the 64th minute, and had an immediate impact. Washington nearly equalized when Dydasco’s ambitious right footed shot from the edge of the box snuck over the bar in the 72nd minute. The Spirit had a total of six shots from outside the box in the game.
Both teams finished with nine shots on the night, and shared the ball equally, with Washington retaining 48 percent possession and Portland 52 percent. Washington nearly doubled Portland’s passing, with 372 passes to Portland’s 196.
Saturday’s game was the Spirit’s first ever at the newly-built Audi Field in Washington D.C.
“It was absolutely amazing,” said Spirit interim head coach Tom Torres. “We were honored and humbled to be able to play here.”
Midfielder Andi Sullivan and forward Arielle Ship both shared Torres’ praises for the grounds, citing the incredible atmosphere created by the support of the fans.
“There was something really special about tonight,” said Sullivan. “It’s been really cool to come back home.”
Ship, who made her first appearance of the season after returning from a torn ACL, said, “This game was incredible for me. I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better environment for me to come back in.”
The Spirit’s next game will be their last of the season, a home tilt against Sky Blue FC at the Maryland Soccerplex on September 1, kicking off at 7 p.m. ET.
-NWSL Match Report-
Match: Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns
Date: August 25th, 2018
Venue: Audi Field
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly Cloudy, Low 70s
POR – Tobin Heath 15’
WAS: (4-2-3-1) 1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 22-Mallory Eubanks; 24-Estelle Johnson (c); 5-Whitney Church; 7-Taylor Smith; 6-Andi Sullivan; 8-Meggie Dougherty Howard; 16-Rose Lavelle (15-Joanna Lohman 77’); 9-Havana Solaun (3-Caprice Dydasco 61’); 11-Mallory Pugh (2-Arielle Ship 81’); 33-Ashley Hatch
Substitutes Not Used: 21-DiDi Haracic; 17-Cali Farquharson
POR: (4-3-3) 24-Adrianna Franch; 15-Ellie Carpenter; 16-Emily Sonnett; 4-Emily Menges; 25-Meghan Klingenburg; 30-Celeste Boureille; 10-Lindsey Horan; 21-Hayley Raso (9-Caitlin Foord 60’); 12-Christine Sinclair (c); 17-Tobin Heath (34-Tyler Lussi); 7-Ana Crnogorcevic (8-Andressinha 80’)
Substitutes Not Used: 33-Britt Eckerstrom; 27-Elizabeth Ball; 26-Mallory Weber
Stats Summary: WAS / POR
Possession: 48.3 / 51.7
Shots: 9 / 9
Shots on Goal: 2 / 3
Saves: 4 / 2
Corner Kicks: 3 / 3
Fouls: 9 / 2
Offside: 3 / 0
WAS – Whitney Church (Yellow Card) 40’
Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva
Assistant Referee 1: Ian Mckay
Assistant Referee 2: Jeffrey Swartzel
Fourth Official: Jordan Gray