Recap: Spirit prevails, 3-2, in thrilling comeback over Kansas City

Washington Spirit  |   June 18, 2023
Recap: Spirit prevails, 3-2, in thrilling comeback over Kansas City Featured Image



Kansas City, Kan. (06/18/2023) – The Washington Spirit completed its first-ever two-goal comeback in a thrilling 3-2 victory over the Kansas City Current. After trailing by two goals in the first 23 minutes, the Spirit scored three unanswered goals to move to the top of the NWSL table.


The match started off on a poor foot for Washington when the side conceded a goal to the Current only 23 seconds after the opening whistle. A cross from Debinha was deflected off a Spirit player directly onto the foot of Current first-year forward Michelle Cooper who buried it in the back of the net. The goal was the fastest goal in NWSL history and the first of the rookie’s career.


Things only worsened for the Spirit when, following a VAR review in the 22nd minute, the center official awarded a penalty kick to the Current due to a Spirit handball in the box. Debinha took, and made, the ensuing penalty kick – her fifth goal of the season and 40th of her career. The referee then disciplined head coach Mark Parsons with a yellow card for dissent after arguing the ruling.


The Spirit did not lose confidence, cutting the two-goal deficit in half when in the 36th, Ashley Sanchez buried a right-footed goal from outside the box.



The goal was Sanchez’s tenth career regular season goal, tying her with Mallory Swanson for ninth all-time in club history. She is tied for third in the NWSL with seven shots on target from outside the box.


Kansas City nearly scored once more before the end of the half, but the score was negated due to the play being offside. The Spirit was disproportionally disciplined in the first half with seven more fouls (nine to two) than the Current and a yellow card. However, the story of the half was the Current’s ability to dominate the ball. Possession was split 60-40 in the Current’s favor, while the home team registered five shots inside the box to the Spirit’s zero. The Current entered the match with a NWSL-low one goal in first halves this season, doubling that total in 45 minutes today.


Coming out of the half, the Spirit put its foot on the gas. Lena Silano, Paige Metayer, Trinity Rodman and Sanchez orchestrated a beautiful attack with a series of one- and two-touch passes. The series resulted in a Sanchez shot inside the box that was deflected by a Current defender.


Defender Tara McKeown played an essential role on the Spirit backline, making a number of tackles and clearances to prevent additional Current shots. Her 11 clearances were the most by any Spirit player.


In the 82nd, the complexion of the game completely changed with a well-placed corner service from Silano to the head of Metayer who slipped the ball past Current keeper Cassie Miller to equalize the game. The goal was Metayer’s third goal of the season and third off of a corner – the most in the NWSL. Metayer is now tied for the most header goals and most goals by a first-year player in the NWSL this regular season.



The action didn’t stop there as the Spirit accomplished the near impossible five minutes later when McKeown netted a go-ahead goal.



The 87th-minute goal came from McKeown’s right foot off a cross from Dorian Bailey. The goal was McKeown’s second in four days and it kept the Spirit’s shot conversion percentage at 100%, with goals on all three shots on target.


The Spirit now leads the all-time series with Kansas City 3-2-0. It was the team’s first win at Children’s Mercy Park. The 3-2 decision marked the first time the Spirit came back and won from a 2-0 deficit. The Current still has not logged a draw on the entire season and sit in sole possession of the 12th and final spot on the NWSL table. Conversely, Washington sits alone at the top of the table with 23 points, one point ahead of Portland Thorns FC.


The Spirit continues its road trip, going west to face the Portland Thorns on Friday, June 23 at 10 p.m. EDT. Fans can watch the match on Paramount+.


-NWSL Match Report-

Match: Kansas City Current vs. Washington Spirit

Date: June 18, 2023

Venue: Children’s Mercy Park

Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. EDT

Weather: Sunny, mid-70s


Scoring Summary:

Goals 1 2 F
Kansas City 2 0 2
Washington 1 2 3

KC – Michelle Cooper – 1’

KC – Debinha – 23’ (PK)

WAS – Ashley Sanchez – 36’

WAS – Paige Metayer – 82’

WAS – Tara McKeown – 87’



KC: 38- Cassie Miller; 4- Hailie Mace (77- Alexa Spaanstra – 72’); 24- Gabrielle Robinson; 7- Elizabeth Ball (9- Mimmi Larsson– 46’); 8- Kate Del Fava; 2- Morgan Gautrat (23- Croix Soto – 46’); 16- Vanessa DiBernardo; 5- Cece Kizer; 99- Debinha; 17- Michelle Cooper; 25- Kristen Hamilton (18- Izzy Rodriguez – 67’)

Unused Substitutes: 6- Ryan Childers;14- Chardonnay Curran; 21- AD Franch; 26- Addisyn Merrick; 19- Jenna Winebrenner


WAS: 1- Aubrey Kingsbury; 14- Gabrielle Carle; 3- Sam Staab; 9- Tara McKeown; 19- Dorian Bailey; 7- Inès Jaurena (25- Marissa Sheva – 46’ (20- Civana Kuhlmann – 94’)); 12- Andi Sullivan; 26- Paige Metayer; 2- Trinity Rodman; 10- Ashley Sanchez (17- Nicole Douglas – 86’); 33- Ashley Hatch (24- Lena Silano – 46’)

Unused Substitutes: 28- Nicole Barnhart; 18- Lyza Bosselmann; 22- Amber Brooks; 39- Chloe Ricketts; 27- Riley Tanner


Stats Summary: KC / WAS

Shots: 16 / 11

Shots On Goal: 8 / 3

Blocked Shots: 7 / 0

Saves: 3 / 2

Tackles Won: 6 / 4

Fouls: 5 / 15

Offsides: 4 / 2


Misconduct Summary:

WAS – Bench – 24’ – Yellow Card

WAS – Bench – 90+3’ – Yellow Card

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