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The Washington Spirit found themselves on the winning end of a 3-2 match against the WNY Flash on Saturday at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
The Spirit started the game off with a new lineup from their last game against FC Kansas City. With Toni Pressley out after suffering a PCL tear, Ali Krieger moved to the center of defense, while Bianca Sierra filled in at right back.
The other changes the Spirit made were in midfield, inverting the midfield triangle from two holding midfielders to two attacking midfielders. Yael Averbuch was back in the mix after starting on the bench against Kansas City, while Lori Lindsey and Christine Nairn filled the attacking roles.
The WNY Flash had their two US Women’s National Team players in the lineup for the first time this season as Carli Lloyd came back after her two-game suspension.
Within the first 10 minutes of the game, Ashlyn Harris put herself in contention for player of the match, keeping the Spirit in the game with several big saves.
In the 11th minute, Lindsey played the ball over the top in front of forward Jodie Taylor, who put a little chip over Flash goalkeeper Wys to give the Spirit a 1-0 lead.
As has been the case in the last few games, the Spirit conceded a goal within 10 minutes of scoring when Abby Wambach got her head on a Vicky Losada cross to even the score at 1-1.
The Spirit seemed to find their groove for what looked to be their best possession of the season, until the 30th minute when Carli Lloyd dribbled through two tackles and three defenders for a sliding finish to the far post, putting the flash up 2-1 going into the half.
The only changes at the half were the addition of Diana Matheson for Sierra, moving Crystal Dunn to right back from her wing position.
In the 70th minute, Robyn Gayle brought out the magic as she nutmegged a Flash defender on the flank, sending a ball into the scramble that bounced back out to Yael Averbuch. Averbuch’s shot deflected off a Flash defender into the path of Taylor whose shot hit the cross bar and ricocheted off the back of Williamson and into the goal, thus being counted as an own goal.
In the 78th minute, to finish off her birthday right, Jodie Taylor scored for the second time on the night after an Averbuch header in the box found the path of Taylor for a tap in, to put the Spirit up 3-2.
The Flash would have a few chances toward the end of the game, including a well-struck shot from Lloyd from inside 18 that Harris was able to block, and the ensuing point blank shot from defender Kat Williamson that went just wide.
With the result, the Spirit move to 3-4-0 on the season, while the Flash drop to 3-2-1. The Spirit return to the Plex on Wednesday for a 7pm game versus Sky Blue FC.
[Photo credits Ashley Palmer]