Boyds Md., (9/23/19) – After a tough 3-1 loss to the second-place Chicago Red Stars, the Spirit remained critical of the areas they needed to improve but hopeful of their abilities going forward.
“We’re still trying to push for playoffs,” Spirit forward Mallory Pugh said after the game.
“It’s very doable with this group. This is a tough loss for us … we have Houston to look forward to on Wednesday and on Saturday we have North Carolina. So I think we just learn from this and I think playoffs are still in our future.”
Pugh scored her first goal of the season after the team made an adjustment at halftime to create more chances.
“At halftime, we talked about playing over the top of them and getting runs in behind,” Pugh said. “We finally did that, it was a little too late, but I saw Alyssa [Naeher] coming out and there was really no angle on my right so I just took a touch around her and put it in.”
After the game, Spirit head coach Richie Burke explained that although the Red Stars are a very talented squad, he believes the Spirit are capable of doing a better job of containing their attack. The Spirit had only allowed one goal to the Red Stars through their first two meetings this season.
“In order for us to get a result in [Chicago], against a team like that, we’d have to have been nine, ten out of ten and we were not that tonight,” Burke said. “They worked for it and they were very, very good. I have to give credit where it’s due. It was a good performance by them.”
Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle played in her first game since Aug. 17. Lavelle played the first 45 minutes of play before being subbed off to start the second half. Coach Burke was excited to see her get right back into action.
“Magnificent to get 45 minutes out of [Rose,]” Burke said. “You know, in fairness to Rosie, that was a little bit of a push. We were hoping 30 minutes of good quality work. She ended up getting 45 which is good. It’s another step in the right direction. But when she’s on the park for us, obviously she’s a big factor.”
The Spirit will travel to Houston for a matchup with the Dash on Wednesday. The game will be Washington’s first as a part of the NWSL’s new broadcast deal with ESPN. Kickoff is set for 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2.