Chicago, IL., (06/19/2021) – The Washington Spirit drew their sixth match of the 2021 NWSL regular season on Saturday night at SeatGeek Stadium in Chicago, IL, 1–1.
In front of their home fans, the Red Stars won an early corner and nearly netted the opening goal after five minutes, but Vanessa DiBernardo’s shot flipped over the crossbar. Moments later, defensive miscommunication from Washington led to a free shot for Mallory Pugh, with a shanked shot the result.
After a collision of heads inside Chicago’s 18, the Spirit played down for nearly three minutes as Ashley Hatch went through concussion protocol. After 20 minutes played, Kealia Watt turned on the afterburners, blew by Sam Staab and fired a shot that slammed directly into Aubrey Bledsoe’s gloves for a routine save.
Looking for her first marker of the season, Washington captain Andi Sullivan hit a long-range effort at the top of the box that curled wide. Hatch had to be withdrawn 20 minutes later with a concussion, and Tara McKeown, the eighth overall pick in the 2021 Draft, came on as the replacement.
On the stroke of halftime, Pugh went on a marauding run in between several Spirit defenders, played a one-two with Rachel Hill but saw her look on target blocked by a sliding Staab. After the first 45, the score remained locked at zero for both clubs.
The match became stretched in the early parts of the second half, a change in pace that benefitted Chicago. The Red Stars were able to send the ball out wide to Watt and Pugh to attack the Spirit’s defense.
A second clash of heads in the 55’ forced Sanchez off the field, but when the speedy forward returned to action, she broke free for a one-on-one with Alyssa Naeher; the national team shot-stopper came up with a diving save to keep Washington off the board.
In the 78’, DiBernardo sent a weighted pass through the backline to Pugh, but the 23-year-old crushed her shot well over Bledsoe. Pugh’s full skillset was on full display in the final 10 minutes; a nifty turn-and-go allowed her to launch yet another shot on goal. This time, though, she struck the outside of the near post.
Late heroics are becoming a theme with this young Spirit squad. Sullivan, who had moved into the center-back spot, hit a peach of a pass up to Trinity Rodman, who took a chest trap, worked an angle for herself and deftly tucked the ball underneath Naeher to break the stalemate in the 85’.
— National Women's Soccer League (@NWSL) June 20, 2021
Any celebrations for the visitors were short-lived; in the 91’, a cross from the left wing glanced off Stabb’s arm, giving the Red Stars a late lifeline. Morgan Gautrat stepped up to the penalty spot and buried a shot into the bottom-left corner to even the contest.
For their next league fixture, the Spirit travel to the Midwest to face Kansas City on Saturday, June 26 at 8:30 pm ET at Legends Field and will be broadcast live on Twitch.
-NWSL Match Report-
Match: Chicago Red Stars vs. Washington Spirit
Date: June 19, 2021
Venue: Toyota Park
Kickoff: 8:00 p.m. ET
Weather: Sunny, mid-70s
WAS – Trinity Rodman – 85’
CHI – Morgan Gautrat – 92’
CHI (4-2-3-1): 1-Alyssa Naeher; 11-Sarah Gorden; 28-Kayla Sharples (22-Bianca St. Georges 64’); 26-Tierna Davidson; 6-Casey Krueger; 13-Morgan Gautrat; 16-Sarah Woldmoe; 10-Vanessa Dibernardo (18-Ella Stevens 96’); 2-Kealia Watt; 9-Mallory Pugh; 5-Rachel Hill (33-Katie Johnson 64’)
Unused Substitutes: 32-Zoey Goralski; 19-Sarah Luebbert; 4-Alyssa Mautz; 23-Tatumn Milazzo; 38-Cassie Miller; 7-Nikki Stanton
WAS (4-2-3-1): 1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 9-Tegan McGrady; 3-Samantha Staab; 6-Emily Sonnett (4-Natalie Jacobs 68’); 30-Camryn Biegalski (5-Kelley O’Hara 63’); 23-Tori Huster; 19-Dorian Bailey; 12-Andi Sullivan; 10-Ashley Sanchez; 2-Trinity Rodman; 33-Ashley Hatch (27-Tara McKeown 35’)
Unused Substitutes: 18-Devon Kerr; 20-Mariana Speckmaier; 17-Kumi Yokoyama; 21-Anna Heilferty; 16-Julia Roddar; 14-Paige Neilsen
Stats Summary: CHI / WAS
Shots: 17 / 7
Shots on Target: 4 / 4
Saves: 3 / 3
Blocked Shots: 5 / 1
Fouls: 4 / 10
Offside: 2 / 2