Spirit pick up 2–0 win courtesy of Hatch’s brace

Washington Spirit  |   July 10, 2021
Spirit pick up 2–0 win courtesy of Hatch’s brace Featured Image

Ian Decker and Luke Bennett

Washington, D.C., (07/10/2021) – The Washington Spirit won in their ninth match of the 2021 NWSL regular season on Saturday night, 2–0.

With several players on their way to Tokyo, rookie Anna Heilferty drew the start at right back, and Paige Nielsen continued her return to action after missing the beginning of the season through injury. 

There was plenty of early possession for the Spirit, but not much in the sense of looks on goal. All that changed in the third minute, when the home team broke on the wing but were stopped on the doorstep, with Courage goalie Casey Murphy saving a point-blank shot. 

Despite missing the first six matches of the season, Nielsen showed no signs of rust in the early moments of the contest; the Spirit’s center-back blocked a Jessica McDonald cross and locked down Hailie Mace on the wing.

In the 12’, Tegan McGrady delivered an in-swinger, which Ashley Sanchez flicked onto the foot of Wahsington’s leading scorer, Ashley Hatch, who passed the ball into the back of the net for the early lead. 

After her involvement in the opening goal, Sanchez, who finished with seven shots, linked up with Trinity Rodman in the 26’ as the youngsters dashed past North Carolina’s defense. Sanchez then found McGrady at the top of the box, and Washington’s left back forced a diving save from Murphy. 

On the stroke of halftime, the ball pinballed around the box and fell to Abby Erceg, but Aubrey Bledsoe came up huge and stonewalled the shot. Minutes later, the visitors saw an attempt ring off the crossbar but couldn’t find the back of the net before halftime.

The Spirit, however, did manage to double their lead before the break. Andi Sullivan began the move with a steal at midfield, danced past two North Carolina midfielders and slid a pass to Hatch, who neatly tucked the ball back across the face of goal. Following the move, Bledsoe — in a display of uncontained excitement — sprinted up the field to join her teammates.

Fifteen minutes into the second half, Mace found herself with acres of space and picked out McDonald in front of the net, but the 33-year-old knocked the ball over the net. 

Five minutes past the hour mark, Sanchez, encouraged by the shouts of the home faithful, ripped a shot from the top of the 18 that glanced off the crossbar and out of play.

Murphy was called into action once more, this time in the 75’, when Tara McKeown launched a shot directly at the netminder’s mitts. The young shot-stopper again was called upon just before the final whistle; Sanchez, off a set piece, picked the upper right corner before an outstretched hand neutralized the threat. 

For their next league fixture, the Spirit will continue their homestand against Gotham FC on Sunday, July 18 at 5:00 pm ET at Segra Field and will be broadcast live on Paramount+ (USA).

-NWSL Match Report-

Match: Washington Spirit vs. North Carolina Courage

Date: July 10, 2021

Venue: Audi Filed 

Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET

Weather: Sunny, low-80s

Scoring Summary:

Goals 1 2 F
Washington 2 0 2
North Carolina 0 0 0

WAS- Ashley Hatch  – 12’ 

WAS- Ashley Hatch – 46’


NC (4-4-2):  1- Casey Murphy; 3- Kaleigh Kurtz; 4- Carson Pickett (15- Schuyler DeBree 78’); 6- Abby Erceg; 11- Merritt Mathias; 8- Denise O’Sullivan; 19- Havana Solaun (25- Meredith Speck 64’); 34- Angharad James; 14- Jess McDonald; 16- Hailie Mace (27- Brittany Ratcliffe 64’); 23- Kristen Hamilton

Unused Substitutes: 0- Katelyn Rowland; 2- Taylor Smith; 7- Diane Caldwell; 13- Ryan Williams; 21- Cari Roccaro; 29- Rylee Baisden

WAS (4-3-3): 1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 9-Tegan McGrady (30- Camryn Biegalski 81’); 3-Samantha Staab; 21- Anna Heilferty; 14-Paige Neilsen (17- Kumi Yokoyama 81’); 23-Tori Huster; 19-Dorian Bailey; 12-Andi Sullivan; 10-Ashley Sanchez (25- Karina Rodriguez 92’); 2-Trinity Rodman (27- Tara McKeown 67’); 33-Ashley Hatch 

Unused Substitutes: 31- Sydney Schneider; 20-Mariana Speckmaier; 24- Chinyelu Asher; 26- Taylor Aylmer; 28- Morgan Goff; 

Stats Summary: WAS / NC

Shots: 18 / 9

Shots on Target: 9 / 2

Saves: 2  / 7

Blocked Shots: 3 / 1

Fouls: 9 / 12

Offside: 1 / 4

Misconduct Summary: 

WAS- Ashley Sanchez – 29’ – Yellow Card 

WAS- Bench – 35’ – Yellow Card

NC- Bench – 35’ – Yellow Card

WAS – Tori Huster – 77’ – Yellow Card

NC- Merritt Mathias – 78’ – Yellow Card

NC- Schuyler DeBree – 84’ – Yellow Card

NC- Denise O’Sullivan – 88’ – Yellow Card

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