Despite controlling much of the game, the Washington Spirit suffered a familiar fate today, settling for a 1-1 draw with the Orlando Pride at Audi Field. Ashley Hatch again put the Spirit ahead in the second half, but just like the first regular season meeting between these clubs, Orlando equalized shortly thereafter, this time through Taylor Kornieck.
With the sun beating down and temperatures over 90 degrees throughout, the Spirit were looking for a fast start from kickoff. An attack up the right from Trinity Rodman saw her leave Courtney Petersen in the dust, but Ashley Hatch couldn’t get full purchase on her low cross, sending a promising chance just wide in the 2nd minute.
Julia Roddar went even closer with a 20-yard shot beating Ashlyn Harris only to smack off the crossbar in the 8th minute, while in between those looks the Pride created a series of corner kicks at the other end, eventually forcing Aubrey Bledsoe into a save in the 18th minute after Alex Morgan intercepted a pass in the back.
Ashley Sanchez floated a 26th minute free kick that picked Emily Sonnett out with no Pride players nearby, but the USWNT defender’s attempt to flick the ball into the bottom corner was pawed away at the last moment by Harris. Washington had another look in the 36th minute, with Sanchez beating four defenders on the dribble only to send her shot right at Harris.
Some wonderful work from Hatch and Kelley O’Hara carved Orlando open in the 44th minute, but O’Hara’s cross from the endline after dancing past Ali Riley was headed into the outside netting by a diving Rodman.
O’Hara recovered from a collision moments into the half to fire inches over the bar in the 52nd minute, before turning provider on the game’s opening goal. Washington’s initial attack came up the right, but the ball got caught up under Rodman’s feet. Rodman kept the play alive, though, and the Spirit patiently worked the ball backward, and then over to the left, where O’Hara sized up an inswinging cross that tempted Harris off her line, with Hatch winning the race to the ball to head home in the 64th minute.
Orlando had only registered three shots at that point, but nonetheless forced Bledsoe into a save seconds after the game kicked back off, and then equalized in the 67th minute. Bledsoe’s attempt to toss the ball quickly forward was picked off by Marta and fell to Taylor Kornieck, who had little to do beyond changing her angle to tuck an open shot past Bledsoe from 16 yards.
Washington went back to pushing for the win, with Sam Staab heading just over from a 79th minute corner, but nearly coughed up a winner on a stoppage time set piece that caused a scramble in the box before Orlando’s shot attempt floated well wide. However, the closest the Spirit came to stealing a late winner was a scuffed shot from Dorian Bailey nine minutes into stoppage time.
The Spirit, who entered the weekend in 2nd place only to fall to 5th due to results elsewhere, are now in 3rd place in the NWSL standings on 8 points. After a much-needed weekend off, they’ll be back in action Saturday, June 19 when they face the Chicago Red Stars in Illinois.
NWSL Regular Season - Game 5
Washington Spirit 1 (Hatch 64)
Orlando Pride 1 (Kornieck 67)
Spirit (433): Aubrey Bledsoe; Tori Huster, Emily Sonnett, Sam Staab, Kelley O’Hara; Andi Sullivan (C), Ashley Sanchez, Julia Roddar (Dorian Bailey 61); Trinity Rodman, Ashley Hatch (Anna Heilferty 87), Tara McKeown (Jordan DiBiasi 61)
Orlando (4231): Ashlyn Harris (C); Ali Riley, Ali Krieger, Phoebe McClernon, Courtney Petersen; Gunnhildur Jonsdottir, Meggie Dougherty Howard (Erika Tymrak 63); Marta, Taylor Kornieck (Chelsee Washington 88), Marisa Viggiano; Alex Morgan
Spirit - Heilferty 91+
Orlando - Petersen 39, Morgan 47+