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Why wait for the other sources, when you can find what you need to know about professional soccer in Montgomery County right here?  Direct quotes from the players, action photos, game summaries, and breaking news. David Wolfe – who has covered the Washington Spirit since their inaugural year in 2013 – brings... Read more

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Spirit’s Stars Lead the Way in Comeback Win

The Washington Spirit made their 2019 home finale a memorable one with a come-from-behind 2-1 win against the North Carolina Courage. The Spirit’s two stars Mallory Pugh (75th minute) and Rose Lavelle (84th minute) scored before a sellout crowd at Maureen Hendricks Field in Boyds.

Photographer David Wolfe captured all the great moments.

  • A Spirit group celebratory hug by Tori Huster, Paige Nielson, and Aubrey Bledsoe.
    20190928 NC Courage at Spirit
    Photo Credit: David Wolfe

The Washington Spirit surprised everyone in front of a sold-out crowd of 5,200.  They fought back from being down a goal at halftime to a 2 to 1 win.

The match started with the Courage dominating ball control. The Courage kept the ball in the Spirit’s half for the majority of the first half.   Spirit defenders did their job admirably as they fended off attack after attack from the Courage.   There were moments of hope for the Spirit in the first half when they looked like they might score, but they were only moments.  The Courage owned the first half.  As regular time expired, the 4th referee indicated an additional 2 minutes of stoppage time to be added to the half.  That was all the time Courage needed.  They scored a goal and went to the lockers at halftime leading 1 to 0.

Spirit Head Coach Richie Burke was first Spirit team member back on the field after the half time but he did not look. When the team took the field, something was different, they looked energized. Whatever magic the North Carolina Courage had in the first half, the Spirit found some of their own.  Soon the Spirit evened up ownership of the ball.   No longer was the game being dominated by the Courage. The midfield players and forwards for the Spirit clicked, bring the team back into the match

Mallory Pugh, forward for the Washington Spirit, was the first to find the back of the net slipping a shot past Courage keeper Stephanie Labbe.  It wasn’t much later when Rose Lavelle used her technical skills to threaten scoring another goal.  Her shot was denied but it woke up the crowd.  At this point, the crowd fully supportive of the Spirit.  Coach Burke said after the match that the crowd was their 12th player tonight.

A few minutes later, Lavelle reeled in a pass from the right side of the field and made another attack on goal.  It was like watching her in the World Cup match against France.  You could just see a goal forming, the score was becoming inevitable.  Lavelle threaded the ball three Courage players, all within tackling distance, and put a long shot off her left foot past keeper Labbe for the second Spirit goal of the night.

The match ended with the Spirit up 2 to 1 over the Courage, the NWSL league winners.  They have the season locked up now.   The Spirit is not out of the playoffs mathematically yet, but they have two tough teams to beat on the road to make the playoffs.  This was their last home game of the 2019 season.

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David Wolfe

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