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Recap: Washington Spirit allow another late comeback, draw with Racing Louisville 2-2


Kelley Piper / Black and Red United

Another late goal snatches points from Washington Spirit as Trinity Rodman and Maddie Elwell’s goals were cancelled out by two second half strikes by Nadia Nadim from Jess McDonald assists. It was the continuation of a troubling second half trend as the Spirit dominated the first half, threatened a couple times in the second, then couldn’t keep Racing Louisville at bay to secure all three points.

The Spirit began the match in much better form than prior contests. A terrific chance was setup by Trinity Rodman in the sixth minute as she sent an early ball behind the defense to Ashley Hatch. However, before a shot could come the offside whistle blew. After the whistle Racing Louisville had to make a substitution, taking off Alex Chidiac after a bloody nose injury and bringing on Emina Ekic.

The heat and humidity was likely to blame for the match starting slowly in the opening twenty minutes as neither team committed to their full press. Being the hosts, the Spirit were the more active team as Louisville mostly sat back and looked to spring on a counter.

In the 21st minute Emily Sonnett had the ball in the net after a cross nodded down by Rodman was tapped over the line, but the offside flag went up to erase the score.

Scoring was opening in the 34th minute after Andi Sullivan found Ashley Sanchez who found Trinity Rodman running in behind. The twenty-year-old took one touch which took her a bit wide but followed it up with a quick strike across the keeper into the far netting just behind the post.

Nine minutes later the Spirit double their lead through rookie Maddie Elwell scoring her first NWSL goal. Camryn Biegalski sent a ball into the box from deep that connected with Ashley Hatch’s forehead that keeper Katie Lund scrambled to block, but straight to Elwell.

Seconds before halftime the Spirit’s insatiable search for their third came via a long range blast from Andi Sullivan that smacked off the bar and an Ashley Hatch follow-up shot that was blocked. The referee blew the whistle to send the teams into the break with Washington up 2-0.

Kelley O’Hara entered the match for Bayley Feist to start the second half. O’Hara slotted in at left back which pushed Julia Roddar into midfield alongside Andi Sullivan. Louisville, meanwhile, began the half as they ended it with no changes.

Elwell nearly nets her second of her career and the match when Trinity Rodman sent in a low bullet cross beyond the keeper but pressure from behind forces a touch that send the ball out of play. The move was setup by some slick control at the top of the box by Ashley Sanchez and a slipped ball to Rodman behind the line.

In the 66th minute the match got interesting as Louisville finally broke behind the line. Jess McDonald, the NWSL leader in assists, sent Nadia Nadim behind the line for a 1v1 chance with Kingsbury which she calmly guides by the USWNT keeper.

Washington worked a terrific chance to regain their two goal lead but Kelley O’Hara couldn’t get a shot away. Anna Heilferty sent a dangerous ball into the box that deflected to the feet of Rodman who slipped a ball to O’Hara in space but she let it roll to her left foot and the chance was lost.

Ashley Sanchez, Anna Heilferty and Kelley O’Hara dance on the ball to open up gaps but the final shot is deflected and eventually booted behind for a corner. With just over five minutes of normal time to play the Spirit had to balance seeking a third to seal it and defending well enough to not give up the points.

However, another late goal snatches points and a win away from the Spirit. Jess McDonald clips a ball into the box from a wide left area and Nadia Nadim skies in to dispatch a header into the far corner.

The Spirit were given three additional minutes of stoppage time to try to reclaim the points they lost but the final whistle blew to seal another disappointing draw.


Box Score

NWSL Regular Season

Washington Spirit - 2 (Rodman 34’, Elwell 43’)

Racing Louisville - 2 (Nadim 66’, 88’)


Spirit (433): Kingsbury; Roddar (Brooks 60’), Staab, Sonnett, Biegalski; Sanchez, Sullivan (Aylmer 61’), Feist (O’Hara 46’); Elwell (Heilferty 60’), Hatch, Rodman

Racing (433): Lund; Martin (Nadim 56’), Lester, Bonner, Fox; Howell, DeMelo, Olofsson (Goins 78’); Chidiac (Ekic 6’, Davis 56’), McDonald, Milliet


Spirit - Roddar 8’, O’Hara 51’

Racing - Fox 73’