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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (August 27, 2015) – The Washington Spirit (8-5-5, 29 points) claimed one point against FC Kansas City (8-6-5, 29 points) in a 0-0 scoreless draw at Swope Soccer Village. The single point on Thursday night was enough to secure a spot in the playoffs for the Spirit.
The game got off to an emotional start as FC Kansas City had a lengthy celebration honoring the retiring Blues and US Women’s National Team midfielder Lauren Holiday. During the ceremony, FC Kansas City retired her number, 12, and unveiled a flag that will fly when the team plays at Swope Soccer Village. Teammate Amy Rodriguez closed the activities with a joking request that the Spirit give Kansas the win in honor of Holiday’s retirement.
The ball was trapped in the congested midfield for a majority of the match as both sides struggled to establish and maintain possession. Nearly every time an attacking player broke through, an opposing center back would swiftly shot down any danger and the ball would find its way back the the halfway line.
In the 28th minute, forward Crystal Dunn forced an FCKC turnover in midfield and carried forward the ball to a couple yards outside the 18-yard box before rifling off a long range effort that sailed high and wide of the net. Just a few minutes later the Spirit continued their offensive surge as several players exchanged passes in the attacking third before FCKC centerback Becky Sauerbrunn stepped in the clear the ball out of bounds.
Both sides went into the locker room with out a goal or any dangerous opportunities on net in the first 45 minutes of the match.
The second half ratcheted up the level of intensity as both sides became more physical. The Spirit earned four yellows in the second half, while FCKC managed to allude receiving any.
Crystal Dunn nearly broke the stalemate in the 58th minute as she skirted several Blues defenders on the perimeter of the box and slammed her shot directly into the waiting arms of goalkeeper Nicole Barnhart.
At the other end of pitch, the Spirit nearly conceded in the 77th minute as the ball pinged around in the 6-yard box following a corner kick. Somehow the ball careened around the edge of the goal line before being knocked out to safety and toward midfield.
Dunn managed to create one more dangerous opportunity during stoppage time, eluding several defenders before releasing her shot from the top of the box. Unfortunately, her shot had neither the pace nor placement to trouble the veteran Blues keeper.
After four minutes of stoppage time the final whistle sounded and the Spirit earned the one point needed to secure a spot in the playoffs.
The Spirit continue their three game road series on Sunday as they play Portland Thorns FC in front of a raucous sold-out crowd at Providence Park at 9:30 p.m. EST on Fox Sports 1.
Washington Spirit Lineup: Ashlyn Harris, Katherine Reynolds, Megan Oyster, Estelle Johnson, Ali Krieger Tori Huster, Joanna Lohman (Ngozi Okobi 63′), Christine Nairn (Angela Salem 88′), Francisca Ordega (Amanda Da Costa 83′), Crystal Dunn, Diana Matheson
Subs not used: Kelsey Wys, Whitney Church, Josephine Chukwunonye
FC Kansas City Lineup: Nicole Barnhart, LeighAnn Robinson, Amy LePeilbet, Becky Sauerbrunn, Rebecca Moros; Jen Buczkowski, Mandy Laddish, Erika Tymrak (Frances Silva 81′), Lauren Holiday, Heather O’Reilly (Shea Groom 89′); Amy Rodriguez
Subs not used: Katelyn Rowland, Yael Averbuch, Caroline Kastor, Sarah Hagen, Liz Bogus
CAUTIONS AND EJECTIONS