Louisville, KY., (05/21/2021) – The Washington Spirit lost their second match of the 2021 NWSL regular season on Friday night at Lynn Family Stadium in Louisville, KY, 2–0.
The Spirit got cooking early Friday night as Ashley Sanchez hit a through ball to Trinity Rodman, whose shot bounced around the box and dropped to Kumi Yokoyama. The Japanese international fired a shot on goal, but her attempt was blocked and sent out of bounds for an early corner.
Gettin' started early, aren't we? 👀 #LOUvWAS | https://t.co/iecT7II54a | #NWSL21 pic.twitter.com/segzrwXjrw
— National Women's Soccer League (@NWSL) May 21, 2021
At the 10-minute mark, Louisville was rewarded with a set-piece following a Kelley O’Hara foul, but Savannah McCaskill’s searching ball into the box went unanswered. 13 minutes later, Spirit captain Andi Sullivan was the culprit of an errant challenge, this time just outside the 18-yard box. McCaskill took the kick once again but couldn’t beat the wall.
Rodman, who had been frustrated by Racing’s defense for a majority of the first half, picked the pocket of former Spirit defender Brooke Hendrix and strode towards the net. A quick recovery forced the number two overall pick in this past year’s draft into a poor shot that fluttered well wide.
Trying to will her side to a goal, Sullivan attacked Louisville’s backline in the 31’ and found Saori Takarada open in front of the net, but goalie Michelle Betos ended the threat with her right foot.
Louisville’s first shot on target came in the 37th minute. Emily Fox, who was selected one spot ahead of Rodman in January, paced past Takarada at the top of the 18 and rocked a shot that required a full-extension dive from Aubrey Bledsoe in net. Washington’s shot-stopper helped her side to a 0–0 deadlock at halftime.
.@AubreyBledsoe at full stretch to deny @___emilyfox 👀#LOUvWAS | https://t.co/iecT7II54a | #NWSL21 pic.twitter.com/DCahNXcrhx
— National Women's Soccer League (@NWSL) May 22, 2021
A nifty give-and-go between Yokoyama and Sullivan led to the captain curling a shot that went just wide. However, had it been on net, it might have edged past Betos, who was fully stretched out. Minutes later, Louisville’s keeper stuffed an Ashley Hatch header.
As Lousiville began to push the pace, Tegan McGrady was called upon in the 71’. Washington’s left back made a goal line clearance to keep the hosts off the board, but the tie lasted only four more minutes; Racing rookie Emina Ekic drove the end line, cut in and sent a curling shot past a leaping Bledsoe.
With 10 minutes to go, Rodman crossed a low pass to Hatch in the box, but Louisville’s defense got across to neutralize the threat. After the Spirit failed to convert, Racing put on a counter-attack clinic. Ekic got the ball and broke for a three-on-one, found Cece Kizer at the top of the 18, and the young forward buried a shot past Bledsoe.
A tough loss was made worse when Rodman almost had to be stretchered off the field in stoppage time. Thankfully, the electric rookie was able to walk off on her own accord.
For their next league fixture, the Spirit face the Houston Dash on Wednesday, May 26 at 7:30 pm ET at Segra Field and will be broadcast live on Paramount+ (USA) and Twitch (INT).
-NWSL Match Report-
Match: Racing Louisville vs. Washington Spirit
Date: May 21, 2021
Venue: Lynn Family Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Sunny, mid-80s
LOU – Emina Ekic – 76’
LOU – Cece Kizer – 81’
LOU (4-2-3-1): 1-Michelle Betos; 11-Emily Fox; 18-Kaliegh Riehl; 15-Brooke Hendrix; 3-Erin Simon (14-Nealy Martin 64’); 2-Lauren Milliet (33-Jorian Baucom 74’); 8-Freja Olofsson; 22-Katie McClure (13-Emina Ekic 60’); 7-Savannah McCaskill; 17-Yuki Nagasato; 5-Cece Kizer
Unused Substitutes: 27-Vanessa Kara; 23-Katie Lund; 20-Cheyna Matthews; 21-Shebly Money
WAS (4-4-2): 1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 5-Kelley O’Hara (23-Tori Huster 64’); 9-Tegan McGrady; 3-Sam Staab; 6-Emily Sonnett; 12-Andi Sullivan (c); 16-Julia Roddar (19-Dorian Bailey 64’) (4-Natalie Jacobs 71’); 7-Saori Takarada (33-Ashley Hatch 46’); 10-Ashley Sanchez; 2-Trinity Rodman; 17-Kumi Yokoyama (21-Anna Heilferty 64’)
Unused Substitutes: 18-Devon Kerr; 20-Mariana Speckmaier; 11-Jordan DiBiasi; 30-Camryn Biegalski
Stats Summary: LOU / WAS
Shots: 8 / 29
Shots on Target: 3 / 10
Saves: 10 / 1
Blocked Shots: 1 / 13
Fouls: 7 / 13
Offside: 5 / 2
WAS – Trinity Rodman 46’ – Yellow Card
WAS – Dorian Bailey 70’ – Yellow Card
LOU – Jorian Baucom 91’ – Yellow Card
LOU – Nealy Martin 92’ – Yellow Card
Referee: Ekaterina Koroleva
Assistant Referee 1: Melissa Beck
Assistant Referee 2: Maggie Short
Fourth Official: Michael Samour