Washington Spirit held a lot of the ball and created the majority of the shots, but a breakthrough couldn’t be found at Audi Field in a 0-0 draw with Orlando Pride. Tara McKeown was bright, and Taylor Aylmer kept the ball moving through midfield, but a goal never came and the Spirit failed to nab a second win this season.
Amber Brooks nearly opened the scoring in the seventh minute with a header from a corner that bounced off the bar and back into play. The near opener seemed to set the tone as the Spirit racked up corner after corner but couldn’t get the decisive touch to change the scoreboard.
Minutes later Marissa Sheva whipped in a cross that Tara McKeown leapt for but couldn’t connect. In the process she was sandwiched between two defenders and took an awkward fall. After staying down or a while and receiving treatment she was able to walk off and re-enter play.
In the 15th minute McKeown flashed some neat on-ball skill to twist her defender before taking a left footed curling shot from just outside the box. Unfortunately the effort didn’t have enough curl and fell harmlessly wide.
However, Orlando nearly struck back by getting behind the Spirit’s midfield for the first time and Erika Tymrak slipped a perfect through ball to Darian Jenkins who sent her shot spinning beyond Devon Kerr but, relievedly, also beyond the far post.
Jenkins broke through the line again making a darting diagonal run across Amber Brooks to receive another through ball from Tymrak. This time Devon Kerr read the danger and rushed out to pounce on the ball before Jenkins could put a shot on frame.
The match settled a bit as the Spirit continued to probe Orlando’s defense for weaknesses until the first half hydration break. Some good work around the box found Sheva wide right for a cross, but her effort floated over the goal and out of play, prompting the referee to blow for the water break.
The final minute of first half stoppage time ended with some fireworks as Orlando, somehow adept at scoring late versus the Spirit, worked the ball into the box for another rare, yet dangerous, attack. A deflected clearance popped off Brooks’ shoulder promping Pride players to protest for a handball. However, and rightly so, the referee demonstratively waved away the appeals and the half ended 0-0.
Washington started the second half as they did the first, and Bayley Feist’s first time shot from a cutback pulled a sprawling save out of Orlando keeper Erin McLeod.
The match continued on in much the same manner with Orlando doing just enough to avoid a solid strike on target. In the 73rd minute Kerr was called on to make a solid diving save to claim and hold onto Orlando’s best chance of the evening.
A second half hydration break came as an Orlando player was down being tended to after a corner. With just under ten minutes remaining in normal time, the pressure is mounting for the Spirit to score, but also bag their first, and much needed, three points since May 1.
In the 84th minute, Bayley Feist dazzled the crowd with a nutmeg that sprung her free down the byline. Her cutback was right to Audrey Harding, but perhaps not in the flow after just coming on, she shifted the ball to McKeown instead of going at goal and Tara’s shot flew into the air and over the goal.
Washington was handed a slight lifeline to get their goal and win with the assistant referee indicating seven minutes of stoppage time. The crowd grew tense with anticipation as the Spirit continued to push for a goal in game they dominated possession and chance creation-wise.
Unfortunately the end was a song we’ve heard for weeks now, as the Spirit finish their twelfth consecutive regular season match without a win, and seventh draw. Spain without the ‘s’.
NWSL Regular Season
Spirit - 0
Pride - 0
Spirit (4231): Kerr; Heilferty, Staab, Brooks, Biegalski (Rodriguez 81’); Aylmer, Baggett (Harding 81’); Feist, Bailey, Sheva (Collins 84’); McKeown (Alexander 90+3)
Pride (451): McLeod; Strom, Pressley, Montefusco, Jimenez; Tymrak (Kim 87’), Listro, Dougherty-Howard, Villacorta, Abello (Petersen 72’); Jenkins (Doyle 62’)
Spirit - Aylmer 45+4
Pride - Seb Hines (coach) 67’