Spirit fall to Sky Blue on penalties in Challenge Cup Quarterfinals

Washington Spirit  |   July 18, 2020
Spirit fall to Sky Blue on penalties in Challenge Cup Quarterfinals Featured Image

Alejandra Martin

Boyds, Md. (7/18/20) – The Washington Spirit’s 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup run came to an end after a 4-3 loss on penalty kicks against Sky Blue FC on Saturday afternoon at Zions Bank Stadium in Herriman, Ut. The penalty shootout followed 90 minutes of play that ended 0-0.

In the first half, both teams tried to find their rhythms, but with the Spirit creating more chances. In the 12th minute, Spirit defender Paige Nielsen sent a long ball to forward Ashley Hatch who found Spirit forward Kumi Yokoyama at the top of the box, but the chance ended up going over the crossbar. 

Action in the game picked up after the hydration break, with forward Ashley Sanchez challenging Sky Blue goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan often. Sanchez took three shots, all of them on target, forcing Sheridan to come up with huge saves to deny the rookie. 

Sanchez’s best chance came in the 42nd minute when Spirit defender Tori Huster crossed the ball into the box behind Sky Blue’s backline that Sanchez connected with via a diving header, forcing Sheridan to come up with a huge save.

The Spirit continued creating chances in the last 20 minutes of play and headed into the break tied but with 59% possession, 87% passing accuracy and six shots, with four on goal, while only allowing Sky Blue one shot on target.

Less than ten minutes into the second half the Spirit got another chance when Hatch took the ball down the line before finding Yokoyama at the top of the box, who then unleashed a powerful right-footed shot that hit the crossbar, and was eventually cleared

After a full ninety wasn’t enough to separate the sides, it went to penalties to determine who would advance. Sky Blue took first, and team captain Sarah Woldmoe converted. Spirit midfielder Rose Lavelle then converted for the Spirit. Both teams converted their second penalties, with Nahomi Kawasimo converting for Sky Blue and Hatch converting for Washington. 

Bledsoe denied midfielder Dominique Richardson, but Spirit defender Sam Staab was unable to convert her shot, tying the score at 2-2. After McCall Zerboni, Crystal Thomas and Elizabeth Eddy converted their penalties, the shootout entered sudden death. Sheridan denied Bayley Feist’s attempt, sealing Sky Blue’s passage into the next round of the tournament. 


-NWSL Match Report-

Match: Washington Spirit vs Houston Dash

Date: July 18, 2020

Venue: Zions Bank Stadium

Kickoff: 12:30 p.m. ET

Weather: Sunny, low 90s

Scoring Summary:

Goals 1 2 F
Washington 0 0 0 (3)
Sky Blue 0 0 0 (4)



WAS (4-3-3): 1-Aubrey Bledsoe (c); 23-Tori Huster; 14-Paige Nielsen; 3-Sam Staab; 9-Tegan McGrady; 19-Dorian Bailey; 13-Bayley Feist; 4-Natalie Jacobs (61’ 10-Rose Lavelle); 33-Ashley Hatch; 17-Kumi Yokoyama (61’ 31-Crystal Thomas); 2-Ashley Sanchez (78’ 16-Averi Collins)

Unused Substitutes: 25-Devon Kerr; 5-Brooke Hendrix; 26-Meghan McCool; 11-Jordan Dibiasi; 8-Meggie Dougherty Howard; 22-Jenna Hellstrom; 7-Jaye Bossierte; 24-Kaiya McCullough

NJ (4-3-3): 1-Kailen Sheridan; 12-Gina Lewandowski; 28-Imani Dorsey (78’ 8-Erica Skroski); 23-Margaret Purce (62’ 15-Sabrina Flores); 24-Estelle Johnson; 6-Jennifer Cudjoe (78’ 17-Dominique Richardson); 16-Sarah Woldmoe (c); 7-McCall Zerboni; 25-Ifeoma Onumonu (86’ 20-Evelyne Viens); 4-Paige Monaghan (79’ 19-Elizabeth Eddy); 9-Nahomi Kawasumi

Unused Substitutes: 5-Nicole Baxter; 35-Megan Hinz; 26-Chantelle Swaby; 2-Kaleigh Riehl; 22-Mandy Freeman; 18-Cassidy Benintente; 21-Amanda McGlynn; 13-Dijana Haracic

Stats Summary: WAS / NJ

Shots: 12 / 8

Shots on Target: 7 / 2

Saves: 2 / 7

Blocked Shots: 2 / 2

Fouls: 8 / 11

Offside: 2 / 4

Misconduct Summary:

NJ – Estelle Johnson 17’ – Yellow Card


Referee: Tori Penso

Assistant Referee 1: Jennifer Garner

Assistant Referee 2: Tiffini Turpin

Fourth Official: Karen Abt

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