Needing a win, the Washington Spirit fell 1-0 to Kansas City Current at Segra Field. The Spirit started well by putting their opponents under a lot of pressure but couldn’t find the goal, then Cece Kizer’s goal in the 68th minute turned a frustrating scenario into something worse. To add insult to injury, the Spirit missed out on a last ditch chance to grab a point when AD Franch saved Tinaya Alexander’s penalty.
The opening eight minutes saw both teams create danger in the opposition’s box. In the first minute Kansas City had a half chance that Devon Kerr scrambled to scoop up and six minutes later Alex Loera headed away a goalbound Tara McKeown shot.
Quite a few players have been slipping on the Segra Field surface which only added to the end to end nature of the opening ten minutes.
Kansas City’s recent tactics have been to do a lot of work without the ball to restrict opposition play then hitting on the counter. However, they were pinned relatively deep by Washington and haven’t been able to spring on the counter while allowing the Spirit to camp near the final third. Washington’s quick ball movement and passes to feet helped them move the ball from defense to midfield and into the final third, but they lacked the final third pass to work a shot on goal.
In the 36th minute Washington crafted their best chance with a nifty backheel from Bayley Feist just inside the top of the box which Jordan Baggett hit just over the bar.
Julia Roddar picked up a knock near the fortieth minute and couldn’t continue and after a few minutes playing 10v11 Camryn Biegalski replaced the injured Swede.
In first half stoppage time the Current came out of their shell and started to put Washington under pressure with some decent entries into the box. Unlike previous matches, the Spirit defended well in the key moments and the teams went to their respective locker rooms tied 0-0
Kansas City worked their best chance of the match since the opening minute as Kristen Hamilton was slipped in behind the line but couldn’t get her shot on target from a tight angle. Five minutes after that Elyse Bennett skies a header over the bar from close range. The Current’s more aggressive start to the second half caused some early problems for the Spirit.
Tara McKeown answered a few minutes later by nudging the ball from a defender deep in the corner then driving into the box and firing a shot that AD Franch had to punch over the bar. A set piece in the 61st minute led to a looping McKeown header that had to be swatted away by Franch.
Four minutes after coming on Cece Kizer got the final touch on a ball into the box that squirmed by Devon Kerr to open the scoring.
Two minutes into stoppage time Tinaya Alexander dribbled into the box and earned a penalty. It was some clever close control to work her way into the box between defenders and draw the foul. Alexander stepped up to take the penalty versus AD Franch but had her low shot saved, then scrambled to pounce on the rebound, absorbing a lot of contact as players slid in to try to steer it beyond the line.
The match ended with the Spirit suffering their fifth loss of the season, and it’s a brutal one as it dumps them to the bottom of the table. Next up is a home match against Orlando Pride at Audi Field which is now a super extra must-win.
NWSL Regular Season
Spirit - 0
Current - 1 (Kizer 68’)
Spirit (4231): Kerr; Roddar (Biegalski 44’, Harding 80’), Staab, Brooks, Heilferty; Aylmer (Vincent 67’), Bailey; Sheva, Feist, Baggett (Alexander 67’); McKeown (Collins 80’)
Current (352): Franch; Merrick (Rodriguez 63’), Ball, Edmonds; Mace (McCain 88’), Pickett, Loera (Curran 76’), Labonta (Leach 76’), Del Fava; Hamilton, Bennett (Kizer 63’)
Spirit - n/a
Current - Bennett 59’