Boyds, Md., (9/30/19) – Spirit defender Paige Nielsen has been nominated for NWSL Save of the Week Award for her spectacular goal-line clearance during Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Courage.
North Carolina midfielder Heather O’Reilly crossed a ball into the box that eventually made its way towards Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe. She was unable to secure the ball and North Carolina forward Crystal Dunn made a pass to Debinha who attempted to chip the ball into the net. The ball sailed towards the net, but Nielsen robbed her of a goal by performing a diving save as she kicked the ball away from the goal, inches before it crossed the goal line.
— Washington Spirit (@WashSpirit) September 28, 2019
After the game, Bledsoe praised Nielsen for her goal-saving effort and resilience throughout the game, saying: “I couldn’t save the follow-up effort … and Paige kinda like biked it off,” Bledsoe said. “I’ll probably owe her a steak dinner or something.”
Nielsen finished the game with 11 clearances, 4 blocks, 2 tackles, 2 interceptions, 9 possessions gained, and 37 total passes. Washington Spirit head coach Richie Burke described Nielsen’s performance as superb, especially considering she battled a hamstring injury throughout the week.
Spirit fans can vote for Nielsen’s save via the NWSL’s Twitter.