The Washington Spirit hosted the San Diego Wave during their second Pride Night match of the season, and ended up snapping their 16-game winless streak with a 4-3 win. Tara McKeown scored the Spirit’s first, followed by two from defender Amber Brooks, with Ashley Hatch scoring the final goal via a penalty in the 100th minute.
San Diego Wave’s 17-year-old star, Jaedyn Shaw, who trained with the Washington Spirit in the opening half of this season before being signed by the Wave, opened the match with a 7th minute goal. Not long after the opening goal by the Wave, Trinity Rodman darted down the wing, fed the ball to Ashley Hatch who moved it on to Ashley Sanchez who set up Tara McKeown for a first time finish to respond in the 11th minute.
Later, during a scrum after a corner, Spirit defender Amber Brooks toe poked the ball into the corner to give the Spirit a 2-1 lead at the 30th minute. Momentum would soon be in favor of the Spirit, and not long after Brooks’ first goal, she would get another to expand the Spirit lead to 3-1 to end the first half.
With an early penalty opening the second half, San Diego’s Alex Morgan cut the Spirit lead to one in the 52nd minute. The golden boot leader would use the back of her head to bag another in the 82nd to complete the comeback and knot the score at 3-3.
With the game being tied well into added injury time, and the Spirit’s playoff hopes relying on a win, Hatch got a chance at a penalty shot after a great run and cross from Trinity Rodman. The ball flashed across goal and was gathered by Tara McKeown who baited a sliding Wave defender into giving up the penalty.
Hatch lined up for the penalty shot, a parallel to the one San Diego’s Morgan took earlier in the match, and placed the ball beyond the fingertips of Kailen Sheridan. The goal clinched the Spirit’s first win since their regular season opener in May.
ASHLEY HATCH IN THE 100TH MINUTE TO STEAL ALL 3 POINTS. pic.twitter.com/FlQbGScuD9— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) September 10, 2022
First Win Of The Season
With many close, sometimes scoreless, matches, the Spirit finally have their first win since May 1. The Spirit went sixteen matches (6 losses, 10 draws) before bagging their second win since the egular season opener — and they did it against one of the best teams in the NWSL.
A Refreshed Offense
Whether you believe or not, the defending NWSL Champions have been underperforming offensively, ending 16 of their last matches in draws or losses. Their offense, even when giving outstanding performances, just didn’t seem to be clicking well enough to get the goals as a reward. Maybe it’s the interim coach, or maybe it’s the chase to get to the playoffs and defend their title, but whatever the reason, their attack looked refreshed and dynamic against a defense that hadn’t allowed more than two goals in a game all season.
The Spirit’s Playoff Hopes Still Alive
Without Kelley O’Hara, Tori Huster, Andi Sullivan and Emily Sonnett, the lineup was again jumbled, but the Spirit managed to get a much needed win. Although the win only lifts the Spirit to 10th on the table, it keeps their (albeit narrow) hopes of making it back to the playoffs intact.
NWSL Regular Season - Game # 17
Washington Spirit - 4 (McKeown 11’, Brooks 30’, Brooks 44’, Hatch 90+10 [PEN])
San Diego Wave - 3 (Shaw 7’, Morgan 57’[PEN], Morgan 82’)
Washington Spirit (433): Kingsbury; Heilferty, Brooks, Staab, Bielgalski; Baggett (Feist 87’), Roddar (Bailey 60’), Sanchez (Sheva 90’); McKeown, Hatch, Rodman
San Diego Wave(433): Sheridan; McNabb, Girma, Riehl, Pogarch (Westphal 45’); Turnbow (Ali 62’), van Egmond, Briede (Doniak 80’); Johnson (Kornieck 45’), Morgan (C), Shaw (Taylor 73’)
Spirit - Heilferty 14’, Sanchez 45+5, Brooks 55’
Wave - Riehl 63’, McNabb 77’