Boyds, Md., (9/30/19) – The Washington Spirit completed a historic comeback last weekend by scoring two goals in the final 15 minutes of play to upset the 2019 NWSL Shield winners, North Carolina Courage in the Spirit’s final home game of the season.
The Spirit’s 2-1 victory was their first-ever win over the Courage, and ended North Carolina’s six-game winning streak.
Lavelle attributed the Spirit’s late burst of energy from Pugh’s goal and from the 5,200 Spirit faithful who packed the Maryland SoccerPlex on Saturday night: “Obviously [the Courage] were knocking on the doorstep the whole game but I think after Mal scored that first goal, it gave us a lot of energy and the atmosphere was incredible, that also really helped.”
Lavelle continued on to say that she’s excited for the future of the club under the leadership of heda coach Richie Burke and majority owner Steve Baldwin: “I feel like we’re building something really special. Credit to Steve, he’s been amazing this year. Richie’s been great.”
Lavelle continued on to say: “I think we just have a team that really loves each other and believes in each other on the field and it’s been really fun to be a part of.”
The Spirit made second-half adjustments after playing a more reserved approach and relying on the counterattack in the first half. Pugh explained that tactic changes helped to create more offense: ”I went more central in the ten and then we went more in a diamond [shape] and I think that worked out well.”
Pugh’s description of goal was straight-forward, as she said: “It kinda just came across to [Bayley Feist] and I pulled across to the left,” Pugh said. “I remembered I [needed] to keep this [shot] near post and really power it, and that’s what I did.”
Pugh credited the Spirit’s second-half subs, Arielle Ship, Bayley Feist, and Chloe Logarzo, for all contributing to the victory.
“This week has been no joke,” Pugh said. “I haven’t played that much in a very long time, so to have that kind of energy come off the bench, was a very good shift they put in. It’s nice to have teammates that really help push us, and that have been playing a long time and give us that energy.”
Washington will travel to Orlando to matchup against the Pride on Saturday, Oct. 5. The game will be streaming online on Monumental Sports and will be televised on NBC Sports Washington.