Boyds, Md. (9/29/20) – For the Washington Spirit, scoring late during the Fall Series has been a trend, but one that has shown their determination as a team to play to the final whistle.
In the three games the Spirit have played, the earliest goal scored by a Spirit player was in the 71st minute by midfielder Bayley Feist during their first match against the Chicago Red Stars on September 12.
Scoring late goals, as the Spirit Head Coach Richie Burke said during a post-game interview, “speaks to their character,” he continued, “it’s great to see.” It shows the resilience and determination of the team, as it shows the game is not over until the whistle blows.
As a team that’s defined often as the youngest squad in the league, Burke feels the narrative is changing into them being known more as, “a team of fighters.”
“It’s with a sense of pride that you watch them and they’re fighting, and they’re battling to the end, even when we stopped at the water break, there was a definite mood of look, we’re not done here, let’s get back in this, let’s try and fight.”
This fighting spirit has paid dividends, as the Spirit have come from behind in their last two matches to take home a result, beating the Red Stars 2-1 at home after falling behind in the 26th minute, and fighting back for a draw last weekend after conceding in the 72nd.
Last weekend, it was Crystal Thomas’ goal in the 88th minute allowed the Spirit to leave their first away game of the 2020 calendar year with a point to showcase for their hard work.
“I think he [Burke] brought a lot of energy, and so did everyone on the sideline, everyone on the bench, and they were saying ‘Let’s go, push,” Thomas said. “We need to find a way. We need to find a way to score. Take some risks. Get near the goal and shoot.’”
Burke said this team-wide notion of never quitting starts with the leadership displayed by the more veteran players on the squad: “We’ve got some fantastic leaders on this team, and they’re die-hard for this football club. Our leaders step up to the plate and cajole and force others to do their jobs.”
To wrap things up, Burke expressed what a wonderful feeling it is when you can see your team get the results they deserve. “I think it was the least that they deserved because they do have that character, they do have that way about them, and it’s a joy to see as a coach that you’ve got that type of players on your squad.”
For a young team without some key players, the Spirit has shown that if you are determined, hard-working, and push yourself to the end, the results will come.