Washington Spirit Over FC Kansas City 3-1
The Washington Spirit earned their first win of the 2014 season in their second match, against FC Kansas City on Saturday, April 19. The Spirit outscored Kansas 3-1.
With a lot of energy in the air, within four minutes the Spirit were on the scoreboard. The first goal of the night came from Canadian Women’s National Team midfielder, Diana Matheson. Defender Crystal Dunn broke through the Kansas midfield and approached the box. The ball was tackled from her and Matheson was able to quickly recover and turn to take a shot to the lower left. FC Kansas City goalkeeper, Nicole Barnhart was not able to make the save.
The match became more energized as a foul was called on Spirit goalkeeper, Ashlyn Harris against Kansas forward Amy Rodriguez in the 6th minute. The referee awarded a penalty kick to Kansas, which was taken by midfielder, Lauren Holiday. Holiday shot the ball low and to the left. Harris was able to punch the ball out of goal, making the save. With that, the Spirit found their momentum.
The Spirit defense and midfield stayed very disciplined and focused throughout out the first half. The combinations between striker, Jodie Taylor, midfielder, Matheson and midfielder Dunn, as well as, the quick attacks were exactly what the Spirit were looking for. The charge on both sides was fairly even; with five shots on goal for each team.
In the 29th minute FC Kansas City striker, Rodriguez was able to collect on her persistent effort. With a pass from teammate Liz Bogus, Rodriguez was able to make a run on the flank, beating Spirit defender Toni Pressley and taking a shot from the eight-yard line. Harris was able to make the initial save, however the ball bounced back in Rodriguez’s direction and she was able to get in a second shot. This time the shot went in, high and to the left.
Not to be outdone, the Washington Spirit fought back within nine minutes. From a pass off defender Robyn Gayle, Dunn fought through the Kansas City backline. As Matheson approached, she called off Dunn as she was able to see the opportunity to catch Barnhart off guard. Dunn took a short pass to Matheson. Matheson took a strong shot at the top of the 18th yard-line and the ball went high and to the left. Barnhart was not able to get a piece of the ball.
The last goal of the evening came from a free kick awarded to the Spirit when Kansas City defender, Kassey Kallman fouled Spirit striker Taylor. The free kick was taken by midfielder Christine Nairn. Nairn took the left footed shot from about 22 yards out and was able to bend the ball to get passed the FC Kansas City wall. The ball went high left and hit the back of the net in the 45th minute.
With the Washington Spirit up by two, the second half started with one substitution. Striker, Danesha Adams went in for midfielder Lori Lindsey. The style of play during the second half was very similar to the first. Both teams continued to attack and were able to get through the midfield. FC Kansas city had three shots on goal versus Washington Spirit’s two, however, neither side was able to finish keeping the score at 3-1.
“We were real warriors tonight. We battled and we showed that we have a lot pride in this club and this shirt. Every player that got on the pitch put themselves between the ball and the goal. More importantly, we were really clinical,” said Spirit head coach Mark Parsons. “I think every time we broke we looked dangerous. We have some great options on the roster that offer us that threat.”
The Washington Spirit will be on the road for their next match facing Seattle Reign on Wednesday, April 23. With just three days to recover the Spirit look to face a tough opponent in the west coast. “We need to now recover quickly because we have a big one Wednesday. It’s going to be good to get on the road because you get to spend time with each other. At the same time we have really tough game in Seattle, however, this result and momentum will help us. We look to show even more courage and discipline than we did tonight and we can play some better football and get into some dangerous areas and earn more points in a very tough game,” stated coach Parsons of the challenge ahead.
Just two days after their match up against Seattle, the Spirit will then square off against the Chicago Red Stars in another away match. The next home game for the Washington Spirit will be on Saturday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m. against Seattle Reign FC at the Maryland SoccerPlex.
Tickets may be purhased here.