Dunn’s Goal Lifts Washington Spirit Over the Chicago Red Stars (PHOTO)

Lisle, IL, USA, August 16, 2015: Washington Spirit versus Chicago Red Stars in a National Women's Soccer League game at Benedictine University. Photo by Daniel Bartel

The Washington Spirit versus Chicago Red Stars in a National Women’s Soccer League game at Benedictine University. Photo by Daniel Bartel

The Washington Spirit (8-5-4, 28 points) triumphed over the Chicago Red Stars (7-3-7, 28 points) 2-1, on Sunday night, thanks to a stoppage time goal from forward Crystal Dunn.

The Spirit got off to a dream start as center back Megan Oyster headed the ball into the back of the net following a corner kick by midfielder Christine Nairn in the 3rd minute. This is the first professional goal for the Naperville, Illinois native. Notably, Oyster also scored in the ill-fated June 20th match that was canceled due to weather.

Both sides battled for control in the remaining minutes of the first half. Crystal Dunn and Francisca Ordega continually pressured the Chicago backline and had several opportunities on goal. In the 20th minute Dunn skirted around several Chicago defenders just outside the 18-yard box before cutting inside and rocketing off a shot that flew well above the goal.

The Red Stars also produced several dangerous scoring opportunities in the first half as they tested the Spirit defense. In the 30th minute Taryn Hemmings found Jen Hoy inside the box, but Oyster did well to stay on her shoulder forcing her shot to go harmlessly wide of the goal. The half ended with the Spirit ahead 1-0 over the Red Stars.

Forward Diana Matheson replaced Hayley Raso early in the second half, which added pace and energy on the right flank. It didn’t take long for Dunn and Matheson to re-establish their strong partnership, and in the 58th minute Matheson crossed the ball to Dunn, but the attack was stymied by the Red Stars backline who cleared the ball and conceded a corner kick to the Spirit.

The Red Stars pulled level in the 82nd minute after second half substitute Melissa Tancredi slipped a glancing header past Spirit goalkeeper Kelsey Wys. Just a minute later Wys made a reaction save to keep the score level after Abby Erceg’s header off the corner careened dangerously toward the Spirit goal.

Crystal Dunn broke the stalemate in stoppage time. Dunn drove in toward goal from the right side, weaving through multiple Red Stars players before slipping a bouncing ball across the box and inside the post to give the Spirit a crucial 2-1 victory over the Chicago Red Stars. This is Dunn’s sixth game winning goal of the season.

The Spirit continue their three game road series against FC Kansas City at 8 p.m. on August 27th.

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