Spirit beat Orlando for historic win at packed Audi Field

Washington Spirit  |   August 24, 2019
Spirit beat Orlando for historic win at packed Audi Field Featured Image

Owen Krucoff

Washington, D.C., (8/24/2019) – On a memorable night for the club and for soccer fans across the DMV, the Washington Spirit took down the Orlando Pride in front of a record-smashing crowd of 19,871 on Saturday night at Audi Field. After forward Crystal Thomas opened the scoring early in the first half, forward Ashley Hatch headed home the winner in the second half to send the massive audience home happy.

The result broke Washington’s three-game losing streak against Orlando and moved the Spirit up to sixth place in the NWSL standings.

In the ninth minute, forward Crystal Thomas pounced on Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to score the first-ever Spirit goal at Audi Field. As Harris tried to control a backpass from a defender, Thomas slid in front of her to knock the ball into a wide-open net.

After Brazilian legend Marta equalized for the Pride in the 31st minute, Hatch struck back in the 59th, leaping in front of U.S. national team defender Ali Krieger to nod home a Tori Huster cross. Harris, another member of the World Cup champion national team, could only watch as the ball sailed out of reach to her left.

With four of the team’s six World Cup stars sidelined by injuries, including Americans Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh, the Spirit’s outstanding depth came together to overcome Orlando’s more heralded lineup. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe once again stood firm for Washington with two huge saves, including a close-range one-handed stop against Rachel Hill in the 70th minute.

The stunning crowd more than doubled the Spirit’s previous club record for attendance, set last year when the team made its Audi Field debut in front of 7,976 fans. There will be another chance to pack the Southwest D.C. venue when Washington takes on Reign FC on September 14. [TICKETS]

In the meantime, the Spirit will continue the push for an NWSL playoff spot with a rematch against the Pride next week in Orlando. D.C. area fans can watch the match on Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday night.

-NWSL Match Report-

Match: Washington Spirit vs Orlando Pride

Date: August 24, 2019

Venue: Audi Field

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET

Attendance: 19,871

Weather: Cloudy, mid 70s

Scoring Summary:

Goals 1 2 F
Washington 1 1 2
Orlando 1 0 1


WAS – Thomas 9’

ORL – Marta 31’

WAS – Hatch 59’


WAS (4-3-3): 1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 14-Paige Nielsen; 3-Sam Staab; 23-Tori Huster; 19-Dorian Bailey; 12-Andi Sullivan (c); 8-Meggie Dougherty Howard; 17-Cali Farquharson (63’ 20-Cheyna Matthews); 33-Ashley Hatch (87’ 7-Amy Harrison); 4-Jordan DiBiasi (69’ 13-Bayley Feist); 31-Crystal Thomas 

Unused Substitutes: 5-Megan Crosson; 2-Arielle Ship; 30-Shae Yanez; 18-McKenzie Berryhill

ORL (4-3-3): 24-Ashlyn Harris (c); 19-Erin Greening (72’ 20-Abby Elinsky); 11-Ali Krieger; 16-Carson Pickett (60’ 7-Claire Emslie); 4-Shelina Zadorsky; 25-Joanna Boyles; 17-Dani Weatherholt; 23-Marisa Viggiano (76’ 9-Camila); 10-Marta; 15-Rachel Hill; 12-Kristen Edmonds

Unused Substitutes: 8-Danica Evans; 22-Bridget Callahan; 28-Haley Kopmeyer; 27-Morgan Reid

Stats Summary: WAS / ORL

Shots: 15 / 11

Shots on Target: 7 / 3

Saves: 2 / 5

Blocked Shots: 1 / 3

Fouls: 10 / 6

Offside: 2 / 3

Misconduct Summary:

WAS – Paige Nielsen 38’ – Yellow Card

ORL – Claire Emslie 90+1’ – Yellow Card

WAS – Bayley Feist 90+1’ – Yellow Card


Referee: Matthew Franz

Assistant Referee 1: Adrienne McDonald

Assistant Referee 2: Kaili Terry

Fourth Official: Alla Stepanov

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