Washington Spirit Fall to Western New York Flash in Home Opener
The Washington Spirit took on the Western New York Flash for their home opener on Saturday, April 13 in front of 2,306 fans under sunny skies. Although midfielder, Christine Nairn scored a goal for the Spirit, the lone goal was not enough to top the 2013 regular season champions.
The Spirit started the first half strong. English international striker, Jodie Taylor attacked immediately with a shot on goal in the first minute. Flash goalkeeper Lydia Williams was prepared and made a quick save of the short and quick shot by Taylor.
The first goal of the evening came in the 15th minute for the Flash by Spaniard midfielder, Vicky Losada. She took a strong shot near the 33-yard line. Although Spirit goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris was able to partially block the shot, the ball was able to get past her.
The pace of the game during the first half was quick and the ball was mostly in the midfield with both teams making short passes. The Spirit were able to maintain a great deal of possession and did not allow any further chances for the Flash to score.
In the 21st minute Christine Nairn headed the ball towards goal from a cross that was delivered by Diana Matheson and midfielder Yael Averbuch was able to create an opportunity in the 28th minute by getting through the left flank and taking a shot that was just off target.
Neither team made any substitutions at the start of the second half. The pace of the game slowed down and the teams focused on settling the ball. The Spirit were able get on the scoreboard in the 50th minute after being awarded a corner kick. Nairn took the kick, the ball went high, bouncing once before going directly into goal.
Western New York’s Losada played through the half relentlessly. For the second Flash goal, she sent a free kick to defender Brittany Taylor who shot it past Harris in the 54th minute.
The last goal of the evening for the Flash started as a pass from striker Adriana Martin to Losada. Harris was caught coming off her line and Losada sent a chip in past her from the top of the box in the 67th.
Although the Spirit pressed on, they were not able to capitalize. “The result was frustrating. There are some things we can put right. However, what was great about tonight is that we showed the ability that we can match one of the best teams in the league,” Spirit general manager and head coach, Mark Parsons said of the loss. “We created a lot of chances in the first half and that’s a platform that we will build off.”
The Washington Spirit will face FC Kansas City next Saturday. “Kansas is definitely a strong team and showed their ability last year. That is a team that we have to face solidly and earn three points on. We have to have the belief that we can get those points. Today’s first half performance gives me the confidence that we can get after anyone in this league,” said Parsons.
The Washington Spirit plays Kansas City next on April 19 at 6:30 pm at the Maryland SoccerPlex. Purchase your tickets here.