Red Stars Spoils Spirits' First Home game Debut at Segra Field, 1-0
LEESBURG, VA – The Washington Spirit fell to the Chicago Red Stars,1-0, at Segra Field on Friday.
It was a great day for fútbol. A sunny 75-degree evening in Leesburg, VA set the stage for 3,201 spirited fans to flood Segra Field. There was reason to cheer, as this was the club’s first game at Segra Field this season. Their only home game was played at Audi Field in Washington, D.C.
The club had also been on a streak. The Spirit hadn’t lost a game since May 21st against the Racing Louisville FC. A victory against a gritty Chicago Red Stars team would temporarily tie them with Orlando on the top of the NWSL standings. With ‘homecoming’ and the chance to sit at the top, fans had all the ammunition they needed to feel good about their club. Meanwhile, the Red Stars had been on a streak of their own. A two-game losing streak. But their last matchup against the Spirit resulted in a draw, and Washington had only won one of its last 10 regular season matches against them coming into tonight’s match. Something had to give.
The match started off slow, both clubs patiently looking for opportunities to strike. Spirit rookie forward Trinity Rodman found an opening for a shot in the seventh minute that flew just above the crossbar. Midfielder Dorian Bailey had chances from the corner in the ninth and sixteenth minute marks. Came up empty in both situations.
The Red Stars failed to capitalize on early opportunities too, but that would change. Chicago’s forward Mallory Pugh drove a corner inside the box that resulted in the first and only goal of the match in the 33rd-minute, an own goal by Julia Roddar. “I thought some of the football we played in the first half was excellent,” said Spirit head coach Richie Burke. “I’m a little annoyed because we sort of let plays down. The only real chance they had was from the corner in the first half.”
Trinity Rodman left the game with back spasms in the second half and was substituted by Tara McKeown (who coincidentally was celebrating a birthday.) Burke gave an update on Rodman, ensuring that her injury won’t be a long-term issue. “She had back spasms and it locked up on her,” said Burke. “She seems to be okay and will see the doctor in the morning.”
Washington finished the game with 7 of their shots blocked, though it seemed like more. There was little to report, because several Spirit attempts to score were close but no cigar.
Washington maintained possession 63% of the match, though the final results doesn’t bear that out. The magic number was 600, as in 600 passes for the game. Spirit had 595. In the end, bad corner kick defense and lack of urgency did them in. “We just didn’t create enough chances,” said Burke.
The Spirit will look to create more chances against the North Carolina Courage on Saturday, July 10 at 7:00 pm ET at Audi Field.