What They’re Saying After the Spirit’s 1-1 Tie with San Diego

Washington Spirit  |   June 16, 2024
What They’re Saying After the Spirit’s 1-1 Tie with San Diego Featured Image

With a 90’+6’ goal from Rookie of the Month Croix Bethune, the Spirit tied San Diego Wave FC to extend its unbeaten streak to five matches. After the match, interim head coach Adrián González, Bethune, and  goalkeeper Aubrey Kingsbury spoke with the media.



Adrián González


On San Diego’s shape and the team’s adjustments:

“I think we competed very good today. I take this game as a big learning experience for the future. We know that San Diego was a great team. I don’t know why they don’t have more points because they have pretty good roster with great players and lots of national team experience. They are competing very good. We knew it would be a tough game. I think we expected that goal. We had some of the first chances to finish and score first, but we couldn’t. We had another scenario where we needed to score, and we were behind. I think the first half was a little difficult because we weren’t used to it. Going into the second half 1-0 was a good result. We tried to adjust a little bit in the second half — something about the pressing. Our first few minutes of the second half were pretty good. Today with this amazing crowd we were able to tie at the end. For me, it felt like more than one point, if I’m honest. I took this as a great game, and I think in the future, it will help us.”


On Andi Sullivan’s absence and Paige Metayer filling in:

“I think Paige did really good. Another factor and another situation. I am very happy for Paige and also for Courtney (Brown). They have been training very good, and I think they deserved that opportunity. It has been a while since they played 90 minutes. It’s good these players can get theses minutes and experiences because we can’t compete with 11 or 12 players in this League. We know it’s going to be hard and long, and we need all the players involved. They were doing a really good job, both of them, and I am happy with their performance.”


On shifting players and problem solving after Gabby Carle’s injury:

“We were not expecting what happened with Gabby. We know that Hal (Hershfelt), as a player, she can play every position. Not goalkeeper, she would kill me if I put her as a goalkeeper. Physically, tactically, and also the we wanted to build up today with three players — Gabby a little bit inside, so Hal can do that, as well. She did it against Portland, for 20 minutes and was good. She is not a full back for me because I think she is a midfielder. We like her there because she needs space to run, especially. Also, I think playing in the middle she helped the team a lot. Today, in that moment, we didn’t have other the full backs. Seeing what we had today, I think it was the best decision. Courtney can play as an eight, as a midfielder a little higher. That’s something we knew in the past, and when something happens in that moment you need to adjust quick. Really good performance from her tonight.”


On the use of two subs and overall sub strategy:

“We always have a game plan in my mind. Well, I have plenty of them; I have a lot. We try to follow what we want to do, and sometimes we have a plan B. For today, we weren’t expecting that with Gabby, so you need to adjust quickly. It changed maybe not the game plan but the players’ profiles because the game plan was the same but with different players. Also, when that happened, we need to know which strengths we have with those players. For example, with Hal, building up with Hal is completely different than building up with Gabby. Hal can put balls behind, and she did it pretty good today. Playing maybe with Hatchy (Ashley Hatch) in those pockets she can also be another number nine. Sometimes, we use her with Oueyle (Sarr) as two number nines, attracting the line of four in those spaces in between. Knowing our players now, we know what they can give us, according to that we try to modify the spaces. The game plan was the same.”


On assessing the adaptability of the team:

“It’s positive, what happened today. A lot of circumstances that we weren’t expecting. We modified the lineup. Players are competing very good. We had an injury today with Gabby. Not concussion, but she couldn’t continue. So, we had to adjust a little bit. Also, the pressing sometimes we know that we can press in a different way. The team is getting better, is improving. We are pretty dynamic. Now, when we need to change something, they get it pretty fast, so I think that’s positive. We’ve been training that. We can’t control everything, for sure, and you need to adjust according to what is happening in that moment, and now I feel like we are now doing pretty good.”


On the exciting ending:

“I feel amazing, honestly. It doesn’t seem like we tied today. For me, this is a win, more than one point, especially because of the way we achieved it. The way the team competed today shows that it doesn’t matter which team we have in front. Now, we are competing every game amazing. Now, the team confidence is getting higher. I’m very happy and grateful. I said to the players yesterday that I feel this is not a coincidence. There are a lot of work behind, now they deserve this. I’m pretty happy. People want to come to Audi Field, and they feel like, ‘This is our team. We feel a part of this.’ This is also what we are trying to do, and it’s amazing. The feeling at Audi Field is getting rowdy, but rowdy, rowdy, rowdy. So happy with the people that also are sending a lot of messages, a lot of love. They love the players. They are supporting every single game. I think that is something amazing.”


On Makenna Morris and if she was an option to come on for Gabby Carle:

“Absolutely. Thinking about her, thinking about the big picture, I want to protect her. Today, I don’t think was the best scenario for her. It’s been a while without competing. When we make those decisions, it’s not just about if she can physically can play. When I take a decision, I see all the factors and elements. Bringing her today with those emotions, with the game like that, I think it would be a lot. She just started training weeks ago, and now she is getting better. She is training good. Let’s see if step-by-step, she can get some minutes and be an option, for sure for more than a few.”


On the emotions of the goal celebration:

“I cannot describe that. You need to feel it. It’s about feelings, not about thoughts. I felt pretty good because there is a lot of pressure, but tension in those moments, especially feeling like the team today — I don’t know how many chances we created. I don’t know, to be honest. It was like, ‘Why? Why don’t we score? What do we need to do to score a goal today?’ I was feeling bad for the players, but at the same time, I was pretty positive, and I believe in this team. It’s not the first time that they do it like this, score last minute. I was pretty confident that today at least we could’ve scored one goal. It’s amazing. It’s a feeling that you cannot describe. When you score a goal, when you win. During the week, we are preparing that game, and we were expecting this crowd. I was also happy for the people who came today. At least they could help us and see us get one point. I’m so happy.”


On Trinity Rodman’s booking today and her consistently defended very physically: 

I think this is a learning for her and also for us. We cannot waste energy with referees and things that we cannot control. It’s not easy because we were talking about emotions. You need to be playing with this involvement in front of 20,000 people or 19,000 people. You need to be there to understand how players sometimes react. This is not an excuse. I don’t like when we complain or when we are not focused on what we have to do. I think as much as energy as we waste on things we cannot control is going to be worse. Always try to focus on the things that we can do — the gameplan, the movement to identify what we want to do, how to control our thoughts or emotions. That’s the thing that we need to control. We cannot control if the referee whistles or pulls yellow card. We need to learn that we cannot react. We need to manage those emotions because we cannot pick up cards easily. She needs to understand that. We are working on that with her. She’s young. Don’t forget that she’s 22. Being Trinity Rodman is not easy. Sometimes we forget that she is a human being, and she’s 22. I think we need to sometimes understand that she is a human being, too. 


On status of Andi Sullivan and Kate Wiesner in upcoming matches:

I don’t know the future, man. (Laughs) I would like to know. They are good. It’s nothing big. At this point, we didn’t want to take any risks. They just felt it a little bit during the week, something muscular. Nothing big. We are trying to protect the players, pushing them today, it was an option, but to be honest, I don’t want to do that. Right now, we have a lot of games. We take care of the players. We want them to be fresh, to be ready, to be 100%. Sometimes, if we feel that they are not 100%, there is no need to take any risks because we have other players — Paige, Courtney today — that could compete. We have other options. We hope that next week they can be ready. Let’s see how they evolve. 



Croix Bethune & Aubrey Kingsbury


On how Croix Bethune’s game-tying goal played out:

Croix: “We had a lot of chances, and from my point of view I knew that we were going to get one in the goal. As many chances as we had, we just needed one to go in. Eventually, we were getting it wide and sending them into the box. Casey (Krueger) played a great ball in. When a defender is running backwards, often the ball is going flick backwards, so I just chested it and finished it near post.”

Aubrey: “They hardly got out of their half in the second half, so I was pretty close for it, actually. When Trin (Trinity Rodman) went down we were just talking, ‘Get crosses in. Get numbers in the box. It’s gonna come.’ Casey had a great ball and an incredible finish. You knew she was gonna score before it even left her foot.”


On San Diego’s wide shape and how the Spirit had to adjust to that in the first half:

Croix: “I think you hit it spot on. They were very wide, so it was kind of hard for us to press because there was a lot of space in the midfield, the six was picking up the ball a lot, and there was just confusion on whether we should step or stay. I feel like at half we readjusted our shape and that allowed us to prevent the six from getting the ball or there being such a big gap in the middle of the field.”

Aubrey: “San Diego was very organized. I thought they were a great opponent today, put in a great shift. But towards the end, you could tell they were tired. So, I think we wore them down. Even in the beginning, we had a lot of clear chances in the first half. (Croix) hit the post. Sheridan had a great save on Trin’s shot. Just one of those nights where we just couldn’t seem to score but overall proud of the way we played.”


On Croix explaining the goal celebration:

Croix: “I’m shooting dice.  Because when you shoot dice 7, 11 is gonna hit every time, so you wanna hit 7 when you roll.”


On Hal Hershfelt shifting to playing on the back line:

Aubrey: “She played there a little bit when we were in Portland, and ironically she played there a little bit at national team camp, so it was kinda like a running joke like ‘right back Hal.’ Not so funny now that she has to play there; she’s a midfielder, for sure, but it’s great to have her be willing and open to fill whatever role that’s needed of her. She did a great job. Unfortunately, with Gaby (Carle’s) injury and the state of some other injuries, she had to fill in. I think she did a great job and hope that she didn’t have to defend too much and got to be on the ball.”


On what Croix was thinking in the last minutes of the game:

Croix: “Just to continue to go. The game isn’t over until the final whistle. So, at the end of the day, I had a feeling that we weren’t going to lose and we just needed one chance for it to go in the back of the net, and it fell into my feet.”


On what allowed the Spirit to have such a forward presence in the second half:

Aubrey: “I honestly just think they were tired. I don’t know how many times Trin was running down that wing. I wouldn’t want to be one of their full backs. I think we were a little more patient with switching the ball and going to both sides and not just sticking towards one side but being more patient in possession.”

Croix: “I agree. I feel like it really started with our defense. Once we readjusted, we had momentum to continue to go forward. Like you said, we were in their half a lot, whether we were building up or defending, so I think that just helped us out a lot.”


On the role of nutrition for a high level athlete:

Aubrey: “We have a big emphasis on nutrition here at the Spirit. From what they feed us, we get provided breakfast and lunch everyday and then refueling after the session, recovery shakes, electrolytes, so many fluids to drink. But it’s massively important to replenish the carbohydrates we burn and to recover quicker. We really focus on nutrition here. We have a very big performance medical and innovation team. (VP, Performance, Medical, Innovation) Dawn Scott is at the head of that, (Director of Performance and Innovation) Kristy Hicks. So, they are always reading the science and really brilliant people in and of themselves. So, we’re always trying out new things. They definitely make sure we’re eating healthy and making good choices at home and on the road and do a lot to educate us so we can then be empowered to make the right decisions for ourselves.


On if there is more pressure to perform in front of a sellout crowd at home:

Croix: “I wouldn’t necessarily say there’s pressure. I feel like we’ve been putting in the work, and it’s been showing off in that the fans come out and want to support us. So, of course, we want put on a show for them and come out with a win, but sometimes things don’t happen that way. At the end of the day, we want to perform our best and hopefully get a win. Sometimes, you don’t get the win, but the way that you play is enough for the crowd to enjoy the game of soccer.”

Aubrey: “I wouldn’t say more pressure but more desire to really give them something. Now, it’s not us and our teammates; it’s us and 19,000 of our closest friends, and we really want them to feel the joy we have when we play with each other. Especially, it’s been since 2019 when we had this crowd. We were really building then, and then COVID hit. It’s been a long time coming, so for us to remember what a sold out Audi — or close to it — feels like, to get that feeling back was incredible, and I hope it stays for the rest of the season. ”


On the goal celebration and all the teammates coming over to celebrate:

Croix: “We’re family. I love how we all celebrate for each other’s goals. Even if I don’t score, it’s fun celebrating for someone else to score because at the end of the day we do it for each other. It’s amazing. Like you said, Ouleye (Sarr) ran off the pitch to celebrate with us on the field. It’s amazing to have everyone close in a huddle and to feel that love and support.”

Aubrey: “I was booking it because it’s the worst when you run all that way and then it’s over. So, I didn’t see the actual celebration, but I was huffing and puffing and got some good hugs in there. Great feeling.”

Croix: “Aubrey always books a 90.”

Aubrey: “It’s like a quick assessment of, ‘Are they going to turn around?’ Because if you go to the corner, it’s pretty far, but that one I had a good jump. Like I said, I knew it was coming.”


On Croix’s improvements and if her time with National Team helped:

Croix: “Of course, you can take little keys and ideas and implement them in my game with the Spirit. Anything that I can learn from older players or at camp, I love to add to my game.”


On the upcoming game against Gotham FC:

Aubrey: “We’re excited. They’re a different team since we beat them here, 2-0, so I can’t wait to beat them again.”

Croix: “Just prepare. They’re a different team. A lot of people were injured that will be playing now. A lot of preparation and take it day-by-day. “

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