Leesburg, VA (06/01/2022) – The Washington Spirit was able to escape Wednesday night’s championship game rematch against Chicago with a point in a 1-1 draw. After allowing a goal in the opening ten minutes of play, Washington was able to net an equalizer in the final ten for its fourth consecutive tie.
The Red Stars came out of the gates hot with three scoring opportunities in the opening 11 minutes. In the third minute, Chicago possessed the ball deep in the Washington box before a Spirit defender was able to poke the ball away to goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury. Just seven minutes later, the Red Stars’ Sarah Griffith sent a cross from near the endline to Ella Stevens who buried a header into the back of the net for the early 1-0 lead. The next minute, Kingsbury had to make a diving save off a Rachel Hill shot to prevent Chicago from doubling its lead.
In the 19th minute, the Spirit appeared to have knotted the match at one on an Ashley Sanchez cross to Ashley Hatch but the play was ruled offside. The same minute, Trinity Rodman fired a shot on goal from the center of the box but it was saved by Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher. Three minutes later, Naeher made a diving stop of a cross from the right side of the box to end the Spirit attack.
Chicago threatened to score again in the 34th minute when Sarah Griffith had an open lane to the goal but Spirit defender Sam Staab was able to catch up and step in to block Griffith’s ensuing shot. In stoppage time before the half, both Sanchez and Rodman had attempts blocked near the edge of the box and the Spirit had another attempt bounce off the post.
The second half kicked off the same way the first half ended when Ashley Sanchez hit the crossbar with a shot from outside the box in the 46th minute. Three minutes later, Rodman charged into the box with the ball at a sharp angle and fired a shot high. In the 54th minute, Rodman again found herself on the lower right side of the goal and sent a cross to Audrey Harding who one-timed a shot wide right. Five minutes later, Rodman fired another sharp-angled shot high.
Washington’s substitutes provided a spark throughout the second half as the side saw more offensive opportunities, most notably in the final 20 minutes. In the 73rd, Sanchez was able to create space with the ball and take a shot from outside the box that went high. In the 81st, Emily Sonnett connected on a corner kick with a header that went just wide right.
Finally, in the 86th minute, the Spirit broke through when Andi Sullivan took a free kick from just outside the box and Sam Staab was able to head the cross home. Two minutes later, Maddie Elwell found herself with a scoring chance when she earned position in the center of the box and headed the ball wide left. After seven minutes of stoppage time without any scoring opportunities, full time was called leaving both the Spirit and Red Stars with another point in the table each.
The Spirit now travel to New Jersey to take on NJ/NY Gotham FC this Saturday night. Following the match, the Spirit head to Illinois for another bout with the Red Stars next Wednesday before returning home the following weekend.
-NWSL Match Report-
Match: Washington Spirit vs. Chicago Red Stars
Date: June 1, 2022
Venue: Segra Field
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: mostly sunny, high-80s
CHI – Ella Stevens – 10’
WAS – Sam Staab – 86’
WAS: 1- Aubrey Kingsbury; 16- Julia Roddar; 3- Sam Staab; 6- Emily Sonnett; 21- Anna Heilferty (22- Amber Brooks 83’); 7- Taylor Aylmer (12- Andi Sullivan 46’); 4- Karina Rodriguez (17- Tinaya Alexander 90’); 33- Ashley Hatch; 10- Ashley Sanchez (13- Bayley Feist 77’); 2- Trinity Rodman (29- Maddie Elwell 78’); 27- Audrey Harding (14- Morgan Goff 77’)
Unused Substitutes: 28- Nicole Barnhart; 18- Devon Kerr
CHI: 1- Alyssa Naeher; 23- Tatumn Milazzo; 28- Kayla Sharples; 20- Zoe Morse; 5- Rachel Hill; 14- Jillienne Aguilera; 10- Vanessa DiBernardo (25- Ava Cook 46’); 18- Sam Fisher (9- Mal Pugh 46’); 15- Sarah Griffith (11- Sarah Luebbert 66’); 7- Yuki Nagasato; 8- Ella Stevens (24- Danielle Colaprico 46’)
Unused Substitutes: 21- Emily Boyd; 19- Channing Foster; 31- Amanda Kowalski; 26- Mikenna McManus
Stats Summary: WAS / CHI
Shots: 18 / 13
Shots On Goal: 5 / 5
Saves: 4 / 3
Shots Blocked: 5 / 2
Fouls: 12 / 9
Offside: 2 / 2
WAS – Julia Roddar – 30’ – Yellow Card
CHI – Tatumn Milazzo – 45+2’ – Yellow Card
CHI – Bench – 67’ – Yellow Card
WAS – Sam Staab – 90+1’ – Yellow Card