Spirit Earn First Win of the Season with a 2-1 Victory over Houston

Washington Spirit  |   May 26, 2021
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Ian Decker

Houston, TX., (05/26/2021) – The Washington Spirit won their third match of the 2021 NWSL regular season on Wednesday night at BBVA Stadium in Houston, TX, 2–1.

Houston’s Rachel Daly got the scoring going early with a goal in the 9’ after breaking through the backline to get on the end of a Shea Groom cross. It would only take 12 minutes for the Spirit to get the tying goal, a rocket of a shot courtesy of Ashley Sanchez from the right side of the box.

At the beginning of the second half, Trinity Rodman picked up the ball in space and fired a long-range effort from just outside the 18 that barely went over the net. Minutes later, Groom snuck away from two Spirit defenders and strode forward. And while the pass was off target, it dropped to Gabby Seiler, who was taken out by Andi Sullivan. The errant tackle by Washington’s captain earned her a second yellow and a sending off in the 50’.

Immediately after referee Natalie Simon brandished the red card, Houston had a wide-open look on goal, but miscommunication led to a missed chance. Rookie Tara McKeown, who got the first start of her young career, was subbed off for Natalie Jacobs in a defensive move. 

Despite being a player down, the Spirit kept attacking — Rodman found Sanchez inside Houston’s 18 for a contested shot in the 58th minute. Operating with one less player began to show in the 62 when the Dash almost poached a sloppy back pass. Thankfully for the visitors, Groom was offside. 

In classic Spirit fashion, their never-say-die attitude led to a goal in the 70’. Jacobs hit a peach of a pass over the Dash’s backline to Ashley Hatch, who held her run, and the potent striker knocked the ball past Campbell and neatly tucked it into the back of the net for a Washington advantage. 

Smelling blood in the water, Rodman got on the end of a cross in the box and struck a right-footed curler past Campbell, but the assistant referee lifted the offside flag, washing out the tally that would have ended the contest. 

With desperation setting in for the hosts, Sophie Schmidt sent the ball in from the corner flag, but a quick Ashley Bledsoe save was followed by a moment of stellar defending from center-back Sam Staab; both plays kept the Spirit ahead. 

While Houston played kickball in the waning moments of the match, Washington was content to see out the game to earn their first win of the season. 


For their next league fixture, the Spirit travel to the Pacific Northwest to face OL Reign on Sunday, May 30 at 7:00 pm ET at Cheney Stadium and will be broadcast live on Paramount+ (USA) and Twitch (INT).

-NWSL Match Report-

Match: Washington Spirit vs. Houston Dash

Date: May 26, 2021

Venue: BBVA Stadium

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

Weather: Sunny, low-80s

Scoring Summary:

Goals 1 2 F
Washington 1 1 2
Houston 1 0 1


HOU – Rachel Daly – 9’

WAS – Ashley Sanchez – 21’

WAS – Ashley Hatch – 70’


WAS (4-2-3-1): 1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 5-Kelley O’Hara; 3-Sam Staab; 6-Emily Sonnett; 23-Tori Huster; 12-Andi Sullivan (c); 16-Julia Roddar (30-Camryn Biegalski 85’); 33-Ashley Hatch (21-Anna Heilferty 85’); 10-Ashley Sanchez (11-Jordan DiBiasi 65’); 27-Tara McKeown (4-Natalie Jacobs 54’); 2-Trinity Rodman

Unused Substitutes: 18-Devon Kerr; 20-Mariana Speckmaier; 7-Saori Takarada; 17-Kumi Yokoyama; 9-Tegan McGrady; 

HOU (4-3-3): 1-Jane Campbell; 2-Allysha Chapman; 25-Katie Naughton; 11-Megan Oyster; 9-Haley Hanson (4-Maegan Kelly 84’); 6-Shea Groom; 13-Sophie Schmidt; 5-Gabby Seiler (18-Emily Ogle76’); 8-Nichelle Prince; 3-Rachel Daly; 14-Brianna Visalli (12-Veronica Latsko 76’)

Unused Substitutes: 20-Lindsey Harris; 24-Jamia Fields; 36-Amber Marshall; 19-Kristie Mewis; 10-Christine Nairn; 23-Ally Prisock

Stats Summary: WAS / HOU

Shots: 14  / 18

Shots on Target: 5 / 6

Saves: 5 / 3

Blocked Shots: 2 / 3

Fouls: 10 / 0

Offside: 4 / 4

Misconduct Summary:

WAS – Andi Sullivan 41’ – Yellow Card

HOU – Haley Hanson 45’ – Yellow Card

WAS – Andi Sullivan 50’ – Second Yellow, Red Card

HOU – Shea Groom 75’ – Yellow Card

WAS – Ashley Hatch 80’ – Yellow Card

HOU – Nichelle Prince 90’ – Yellow Card


Referee: Natalie Simon

Assistant Referee 1: Kali Smith

Assistant Referee 2: Andrew Charron

Fourth Official: Gerald Flores

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