Boyds, Md. (7/14/20) – The Washington Spirit closed the preliminary round of the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup on a high note after defeating the Houston Dash 1-0, propelling Washington to the #2 seed for the knockout stages that begin this weekend.
The matchup on Sunday provided some eye-catching stats for the Spirit individually and as a team. From a data standpoint, this was the Spirit’s best performance of the Challenge Cup so far.
For starters, of the 16 Spirit players that featured, including substitutes, 14 had a successful passing rate of 72% or higher. Having said that, there were five Spirit players, defenders Sam Staab and Brooke Hendrix, and midfielders Andi Sullivan, Meggie Dougherty Howard and Dorian Bailey with successful passing rates of 90% or higher. Moreover, Bailey completed an eye-popping 46 out of the 46 passes she attempted (100%).
Defender Paige Nielsen finished the game racking up 111 passes, nearly doubling the Dash’s high of 68 from Katie Naughton, and setting a tournament-high for all players. The Spirit completed a total of 592 passes, 153 more than their average of 439 passes per 90, meaning Nielsen completed 18.75% of the team’s overall passes.
Forward Bayley Feist took a total of five shots, three of which were on target, with one resulting game-winning goal. Additionally, forward Ashley Sanchez created the highest number of chances for the Spirit, finishing the game with three key passes in just 77 minutes of play.
Additionally, the Spirit had their highest number of shots on target of the tournament with eight, while at the other end, goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe was able to get her first clean sheet while only having to make one save.
The Spirit will look to continue their good form into the quarterfinals where they will take on #7 Sky Blue FC on Saturday, July 18 at 12:30 pm ET. The match will be streamed live on CBS All-Access.