Washington, D.C. (09/17/2022) – The Washington Spirit earned its second straight win Saturday night, courtesy of a 2-0 shutout of northeast rival NJ/NY Gotham FC at Audi Field.
Coming off a thrilling 4-3 win against San Diego, the Spirit wasted no time getting started Saturday night against Gotham FC, generating three offensive corner kicks within the first five minutes of the match. In the 16th minute, Ashley Sanchez found herself inside the 18-yard box from a Trinity Rodman no-look pass and placed a shot low which was met with a kick save by Gotham FC goalkeeper Michelle Betos, resulting in a corner.
In a first half that left both teams deadlocked, Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury and her back line were rarely tested. The most promising chance of the half for Gotham FC came in the 27th minute, courtesy of Paige Monaghan. Releasing her shot from the right side of the box, it found the outside netting of the near post. Ashley Hatch created the closest opportunity of the half for the Spirit, with her first-time shot in the second minute of first half stoppage time finding its way just above the crossbar. With neither team being able to find an edge on the scoreline going into halftime, the Spirit held the upper hand on possession, shots, crosses and corners.
After much patience, Tara McKeown would find the breakthrough goal for the Spirit in the 51st minute. Sanchez passed a perfectly timed through ball behind the back line into the run of McKeown. McKeown’s original cross into the box was deflected but the ball found its way back to her. With Betos out of her position after playing out, McKeown was able to finish the ball into the empty net. This was the 14th time that Gotham FC has conceded the first goal in a match this season.
In the 81st minute, Hatch and McKeown linked up for another Spirit opportunity. Off the back of a one-two combination with McKeown in the midfield, Hatch continued her darting run into the box and slotted a ball across the box to McKeown. Taking a touch to delay the defender, McKeown smashed her shot to the top right corner, calling on Betos to make a diving save.
Ashley Sanchez would score the second Spirit goal of the game in the 87th minute. Applying the high press, Sanchez was able to strip Betos of possession inside the box. Sanchez calmly finished her opportunity into the back of the net, securing the win for the Washington Spirit.
With only three games remaining in the regular season, the Spirit will travel across the country to California for a mid-week match against Angel City FC. The contest is scheduled for a 10:30 p.m. EST kickoff on Wednesday, September 21. Staying on the road, the side will then head to Kansas City to take on the Current in a 5:00 p.m. match on Sunday, September 25th. The Spirit will then return home for its final match of the season, taking on the Houston Dash at Audi Field at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 1.
-NWSL Match Report-
Match: Washington Spirit vs. NJ/NY Gotham FC
Date: September 17, 2022
Venue: Audi Field
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, mid-70s
WAS – Tara McKeown – 51’
WAS – Ashley Sanchez – 86’
WAS: 1- Aubrey Kingsbury; 21- Anna Heilferty; 3- Sam Staab; 16- Julia Roddar; 30- Camryn Biegalski; 13- Bayley Feist; 19- Dorian Bailey; 9- Tara McKeown; 10- Ashley Sanchez (25- Marissa Sheva 87’); 2- Trinity Rodman (29- Maddie Elwell 90’+2’); 33- Ashley Hatch
Unused Substitutes: 7- Taylor Aylmer; 8- Averie Collins; 27- Audrey Harding; 18- Devon Kerr; 24- Alia Martin; 4- Karina Rodriguez; 20- Gaby Vincent
NJ/NY: 1- Michelle Betos; 28- Imani Dorsey; 24- Estelle Johnson; 11- Ali Krieger; 20- Taylor Smith (21- Ellie Smith 46’); 99- Victoria Pickett; 8- Taryn Torres; 9- Nahomi Kawasumi (14- Delanie Sheehan 70’); 19- Kristie Mewis; 4- Paige Monaghan (13- Kumi Yokoyama 79’); 25- Ifeoma Onumonu (23- Midge Purce 46’)
Unused Substitutes: 5- Nicole Baxter; 44- Jenna Bike; 22- Mandy Freeman; 51- Hensley Hancuff; 7- McCall Zerboni
Stats Summary: WAS / NJ/NY
Shots: 14 / 9
Shots On Goal: 6 / 3
Saves: 3 / 4
Shots Blocked: 3 / 1
Fouls: 13 / 4
Offsides: 1 / 8
NJ/NY – Paige Monaghan – 29’ – Yellow Card
WAS – Sam Staab – 33’ – Yellow Card
WAS – Ashley Hatch – 79’ – Yellow Card