Luke Bennett and Sara Campbell
Leesburg, VA, (08/07/2021) – The Washington Spirit were defeated in their thirteenth match of the 2021 NWSL regular season this evening, 0-1.
The Spirit and Thorns traded offensive blows to begin the match, firing off two shots and corners each within the first ten minutes. Washington’s defense was tested in the ensuing action as Portland spent much of its early possession in the Spirit’s half, but had few shots on goal to show for.
Portland dominated possession and finally broke the ice in the 29’ when 15-year-old Olivia Moultrie set up Simone Charley for a header that passed the hands of Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe.
Despite similar statistics, the first half ended just as it began — with the Spirit’s back against the wall. Portland seemingly dominated possession in the first half and operated near the Washington goal for minutes at a time. That said, the Thorns only landed two shots on goal — one being the 29’ goal — not including a botched shot attempt in the box by attacker Sophia Smith.
The Spirit failed to capitalize on their four shots on goal and late-half corner attempt. Yet, there was much soccer left to be played.
The Spirit quickly gained some momentum in the second half off the foot of Trinity Rodman, who had multiple runs at the ball, including some defensive work in Washington’s third. Rodman’s efforts also helped set up a Dorian Bailey corner that ultimately proved fruitless.
Things were stagnant until Andi Sullivan picked up a yellow in the 65’ just before Richie Burke opted to swap Taylor Aylmer for Ashley Sanchez. Following the substitution, the Spirit turned up the heat and rounded off a series of shots — all of which were blocked by the foot traffic in Portland’s box.
Washington’s Saori Takarada sustained pressure on the Thorns’ backline with a strong chance right outside the box in the 71’. The promising shot, however, struck the crossbar, leaving the match’s score in Portland’s favor.
With less than 10 minutes to play, the Spirit produced multiple chances in front of the net, but could not sneak one by Bella Bixby and the Portland defense.
Unfortunately for the Spirit, four minutes of stoppage time was not enough to overcome the persistence of the Thorns. Portland’s defensive execution led to zero shots on goal for Washington for the entirety of the second half. The match ended in a winless night for Washington, resulting in their second consecutive loss of the regular season and third loss in three appearances at Segra Field.
For their next league fixture, the Spirit will hit the road against the Houston Dash on Friday, August 13 at 8:30 pm ET at BBVA Stadium and will be broadcast live on Twitch (USA).
-NWSL Match Report-
Match: Washington Spirit vs. Portland Thorns FC
Date: August 7, 2021
Venue: Segra Field
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Cloudy, mid-60s
POR – Simone Charley – 29’
WAS (4-3-3): 1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 3-Samantha Staab; 7-Saori Takarada; 21-Anna Heilferty; 14-Paige Nielsen; 19-Dorian Bailey; 12-Andi Sullivan; 23-Tori Huster (27-Tara McKeown 76’); 10-Ashley Sanchez (26- Taylor Aylmer 66’); 2-Trinity Rodman; 33-Ashley Hatch
Unused Substitutes: 28-Morgan Goff; 17-Kumi Yokoyama; 18-Devon Kerr; 25- Karina Rodriguez; 24-Chinyelu Asher; 11-Jordan DiBiasi; 30- Camryn Biegalski
POR (4-3-3): 31-Bella Bixby; 25-Meghan Klingenberg (15-Madison Pogarch 67’); 20-Kelli Hubly; 5-Emily Menges; 18-Christen Westphal (14-Natalia Kuikka 79’); 42-Olivia Moultrie (40-Marissa Everett 45’); 11-Rocky Rodriguez; 36-Angela Salem; 30-Celeste Boureille; 7-Simone Charley (41-Hannah Betfort 89’); 9-Sophia Smith
Unused Substitutes: 39-Meaghan Nally; 45-Taylor Porter; 43-Shelby Hogan; 34-Tyler Lussi
Stats Summary: WAS / POR
Shots: 11 / 10
Shots on Target: 4 / 4
Saves: 3 / 3
Blocked Shots: 4 / 2
Fouls: 11 / 3
Offside: 0 / 3
WAS – Andi Sullivan 65’ – Yellow Card
POR – Sophia Smith 70’ – Yellow Card