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The Washington Spirit Reserves powered through a gritty Long Island performance to best the Rough Riders 2-0 Thursday evening at special venue site Howison Soccer Complex in Woodbridge, Va. Spirit Reserves forward Amber Stobbs scored early and defender Jen Skogerboe added a goal in stoppage to edge the solid Rough Rider defense and extend the Washington win streak to five games.
The victory temporarily secures the Northeastern Conference top spot for the Spirit Reserves, currently two points ahead of the Virginia Beach Piranhas. Both teams play again on Saturday and Long Island has two games over the next three days, keeping the standings in a potential state of flux over the weekend.
With what now seems like a Spirit Reserves hallmark, Washington pressured quickly and got on the scoreboard early in the match. Midfielder Katie Yensen broke free down the left side of the Long Island defense and smacked a driven cross in front of the Rough Rider’s net. A crashing Stobbs caught the cross in full volley, rocketing the ball past Long Island keeper Samantha Whitney untouched for the 1-0 lead.
Long Island’s defense was dealt a significant blow near the onset of the match when prominent veteran defender Sue Weber suffered serious injury and was forced to leave the match. Things became even more challenging for the Rough Riders as midfielder Kim DeCesare rolled her ankle in the 29th minute and could not continue.
Washington continued its rapid attack throughout the match, sending a flurry of shots at the Long Island goal. Solid defending and some absolute heroics from keeper Whitney kept the match undecided throughout much of the night however.
Spirit Reserve forward Tiffany Brown and midfielder Yensen both fired what seemed to be sure goals on two separate occasions, only to see the acrobatic Whitney managed to tip the shots wide. In the second half, defender Meghan Cox blasted a header on frame from six yards out that the Long Island keeper somehow managed to deflect wide.
In took the full ninety minutes before Washington figured a way to break the Long Island defense. Forward Morgan Reuther fed a crisp through ball between two defenders to the foot of the streaking Skogerboe in the waning moments of the match. Skogerboe cracked a laser-line shot into the opposite side of the goal to secure the 2-0 final score.
“Great team performance at all levels tonight,” commented W-League Director Tim Schweitzer. “As our offense fought all night to solve a very tough Long Island team, our defense afforded them the full time to accomplish the win through superb coordination and control of the match.”
“Gutsy performance tonight from Long Island after some early bad luck,” continued Schweitzer. “Sue (Weber) is a stalwart legend in the USL and players like her are what the W-League is all about, we wish her and Kim (DeCesare) a speedy recovery.”
The Howison Soccer Complex in Woodbridge, Va. where this game was played, was done in partnership with Prince William Soccer (PWSI) and was the second of two “home matches” away from the Maryland SoccerPlex for the Spirit Reserves this season. The decision to do so was made by Spirit management in an effort to bring easier access to the program throughout the region. The Spirit Reserves defeated North Jersey 7-0 on June 1 in a “home match” at Liberty High School in the first leg.
The Howison Soccer Complex is home to PWSI’s headquarters, where many of the Prince William Courage club teams compete on a regular basis.
With just a single days rest, the Spirit Reserves return to action Saturday afternoon on the road. Washington faces the North Jersey Valkyries at 4:00PM in Wayne, New Jersey.