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Chantel Jones hasn’t often been on the field this season, but in her fourth start of the year, the Spirit backup goalkeeper had the perfect vantage point for the game winning goal in Washington’s 1-0 shutout win over Chicago on Wednesday.
And seeing was believing when Lupita Worbis made a nifty, 360-degree spin move, followed by a perfectly executed give-and-go with Diana Matheson.
“I saw them slip the ball through, and naturally, because of how our season is going, I was waiting for them to put up the offsides flag,” Jones said. “Then I saw Lupita, and I didn’t know if she was going to get there in time, and she shot it, and I saw the net move, and I was just like, ‘I can’t believe that we scored.’”
Thanks in part to a halted contest due to a pair of lightning alerts, it was all the Spirit needed to put their arms around their first home victory of the season. It was particularly heartening for both Jones and her Mexican teammate.
Worbis had her parents in attendance, having traveled from south of the border to see their daughter wearing the Spirit uniform in person. Her father will remain in town long enough to see Worbis represent Mexico against the U.S. at RFK Stadium on Sept. 3.
“They are here since last week, and this is the first game they see here,” Worbis said. “That’s very good support for me. They always try to be supportive, and I’m so happy that they are here.”
For Jones, it was a goal for her roommate, who she’s helped to take around and see the sights of Washington since her arrival in May.
“I was mostly happy because it’s Lupita,” Jones said. “Her parents are here from Mexico, and it was just like the best situation.”
Jones solid in fourth start
That Jones was in the net was special as well. While she had started in the previous match at Sky Blue FC when Ashlyn Harris was scratched in warmups due to injury, Spirit head coach Mark Parsons had put Jones on the schedule for the Chicago game – a move Harris endorsed. Jones finished with four saves.
“That’s the best thing about Ashlyn and Jonesy,” Parsons said. “They’re both very talented, but they support each other more than ever. When we had that conversation with Ashlyn to say, ‘Hey, Jonesy is going to get this game on this date,’ she said, ‘It’s about time because she’s deserved it more than anybody else.’ That kind of character is what, for a very difficult time, has kept us together and kept us so tight.”
Krieger’s return settles Spirit
While Worbis made the magical move in the 58th minute that unlocked the Red Stars defense, Parsons also credited an inspiring lift off the bench when Ali Krieger was inserted into the match three minutes earlier. The U.S. national team defender had missed most of the last four games with concussion symptoms.
“I looked at [assistant coach] Lloyd [Yaxley] and thought, there’s only one thing that will help swing momentum, and it’s not a tactical or technical thing,” Parsons said. “It’s just a psychological thing, and that’s when we brought Krieger on. Everyone was panicking and kind of shaking a little bit, and we see her come on and everyone settled. I think the goal came just after – nothing to do with her on the ball, just the fact that she was on the pitch helped us.”