The Washington Spirit see their late rally come up short as they fall 2-1 to San Diego Wave FC. San Diego head coach Casey Stoney orchestrated a solid pressing gameplan that gave the Spirit trouble. Though the tide began to turn in the second half, Tara McKeown’s assists to Jordan Baggett came too late to gain a result.
Washington took the pitch in shirts with CVS as the front shirt sponsor instead of The Kennedy Center. The Spirit announced that CVS has returned as the away shirt sponsor while The Kennedy Center will remain the sponsor the the home shirts.
The first big chance of the match fell to San Diego in the 17th minute as a ball was slipped in behind, calling Devon Kerr into action early. Kerr came out quickly but not in enough time to block the shot, but it sailed high in the end.
On the broadcast you can hear San Diego head coach Casey Stoney orchestrating an intense press that’s troubling the Spirit. The combination of Stoney being an incredibly well organized coach with key outfield players in the XI and the Spirit missing all of their on-pitch leaders is making it doubly difficult for the Spirit.
The pressure finally told in the 36th minute as the Wave pinned the Spirit in their defensive third then played a good combination to send a low ball into the box with pace. Makenzy Doniak flashed in front of Karina Rodriguez to meet the ball in front of Devon Kerr and rocket the ball into the top corner.
Washington attempted to hang within one goal until they could get to halftime and make adjustments but San Diego grabbed a second in stoppage time. Dorian Bailey was closed down and lost possession high. Belle Briede was slipped through the line and had a simple finish by Kerr.
Minutes after stepping onto the pitch Tara McKeown marked her return with the Spirit’s best chance of the game. She broke down the left flank and cut inside of her defender into the box to unleash a shot. It curled and skipped off the grass but not wide enough and was bobbled then held by Carly Telford.
In the 62nd minute Jordan Baggett made her return to the pitch after the scary collision suffered in the NWSL Challenge Cup championship game.
Tara McKeown causes problems once again by driving beyond the line and cutting the ball back. Her cross was deflected but gave Anna Heilferty a chance to line up a first time shot that was sneaking in at the near post but pushed behind by Telford.
Washington ramped up pressure with just under twenty minutes of normal time remaining. Getting a goal as quickly as possible would make San Diego sweat in the final minutes.
In stoppage time Tara McKeown causes danger again and sends a beautiful deep cross into the box that meets the head of Jordan Baggett for a goal. The referee allowed an additional minute due to the goal but the Spirit couldn’t craft another look at goal and the match ended 2-1.
Jordan Baggett jumps highest and heads home a consolation goal for The Spirit. pic.twitter.com/ozXGjzzJ8q— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) July 3, 2022
The Spirit begin a crucial month with zero points and collect their fourth loss of the season. Though the team improved in the second half and eventually cracked San Diego’s defense, it wasn’t enough to add to their point total, which now has to start becoming a bit of a concern.
NWSL Regular Season
Wave - 2 (Doniak 36’, Briede 45+4’)
Spirit - 1 (Baggett 90+3)
Wave (433): Telford; McGrady (Gyau 80’), Dahlkemper, Riehl, Westphal; Van Egmond, McNabb, Briede (Johnson 46’); Turnbow (Altschuld 80’), Doniak (Ali 63’), Schimmer
Spirit (4231): Kerr; Fields (Heilferty 46’). Staab, Rodriguez, Biegalski (Aylmer 61’); Roddar, Bailey (Baggett 62’); Elwell (McKeown 46’), Feist, Sheva; Harding (Alexander 79’)
Wave - None
Spirit - Alexander 90+2’