Spirit take hard hit from Thorns

Washington Spirit  |   June 22, 2014
Spirit take hard hit from Thorns Featured Image

After a lengthy road trip, the Washington Spirit were rudely welcomed home with a 6-1 defeat to the Portland Thorns.

The loss was the Spirit’s third in a row. This has been a trying time for the Spirit, with the offense mustering just two goals in their past four matches. Meanwhile, the Thorns exploded for their franchise record high with six goals, including four in the second half alone. The loss drops Washington under .500, at 6-7-1. They sit in fifth place, outside the playoff picture. Portland jumped ahead to fourth, improving to 6-4-2 on the season.

The Thorns jumped out to a quick start. Forward Alex Morgan, just returned from a stint with the USWNT, found her teammate Christine Sinclair wide open at the top of the box. Sinclair delivered a perfectly placed shot to the top left corner to give the Thorns a 1-0 lead. The Thorns kept the early pressure and in the 11th minute, after a free kick that produced chaos in front of goalkeeper Chantel Jones, Morgan was able to rise up for a header that she buried in the net to make it 2-0.

The Spirit were able to hold the Thorns for the rest of the half, but a comeback was not in the cards. Spirit forward Christine Nairn tallied their only goal in the 62nd minute. Capitalizing off a rebound opportunity, Nairn was able to slip the ball past Thorns goalkeeper Michelle Betos from just outside the 18 yard box. The goal brought the score to 2-1, but that was as close as it would get.

In the 71st minute, Morgan completed her brace. A poorly executed clear by Jones was stolen by Morgan, who calmly chipped it over Jones and into the goal to bring the score to 3-1.  That would be the decisive goal of the match, but the Thorns continued to pour it on.

After substituting in for Morgan in the 82nd minute, Thorns forward Jessica McDonald added two goals of her own, with strikes in the 85th and 87th minutes. McDonald leads the Thorns and is third in the NWSL with 8 goals on the season. Allie Long concluded the scoring with a goal in the 91+ minute to bring the final total to 6-1.

The Spirit saw debuts for three players on the night including Niki Cross, Alex Singer and Lisa DeVanna.

The Spirit will get a chance to regroup, as their next match is a week away, June 28th against the Houston Dash. With the national team players back and Kerstin Garefrekes on her way, the week off should give the team time to fall back into their winning ways.

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