- Erica Blackburn
Spirit lost their magical powers to the Portland Thorns 1-0
The Washington Spirit lost to the Portland Thorns FC 1-0 on a Saturday evening in August at Segra Field in the team’s first matchup this season.
The Spirit had a bad taste in their mouths. Last weekend’s loss to the Red Stars showcased a lackluster performance, one head coach Richie Burke bemoaned after the game. Now fourth in the NWSL standings and only two points removed from the eighth-place OL Reign, the Spirit couldn’t afford to go without points for a second consecutive week.
Coming into Saturday’s game against the Spirit, the Thorns lead the league in goals scored (19) while also allowing the least amount of goals against in the league (7). They’re just as great defensively as they are offensively.
The first half against the Portland Thorns FC was a much better showing for the Spirit. Both teams came out strong, making it a defensive battle. A great scoring opportunity came early in the first half when Ashley Sanchez led Trinity Rodman beautifully who was streaking down the middle of the field. Seemingly all alone, Rodman took a shot but Portland had perfect timing for the clearance.
The Spirit had a slight advantage in ball control in the first half, but Portland had the upper hand in the scoring department. In the 30th minute, Portland’s Olivia Moultrie assisted with a fantastic ball to Simone Charley, who had a great run in the box and finished with a header. Portland took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
The second half featured more of Portland’s stout defense, which kept the Spirit frustrated for the remainder of the match. Questionable calls didn’t aid the Spirit either. Substitutions came for the Spirit in the 66th minute where Taylor Aylmer subbed for Ashley Sanchez, which was an interesting decision in a ballgame where one score could change it. In the end, it didn’t matter as the Spirit couldn’t figure out and break down Portland’s defense.
The Spirit dropped to fifth in the standings, behind Portland, North Carolina, NY/NJ, and Chicago with Houston on their heels. Washington will play against the Houston Dash at BBVA Stadium in Houston, Texas on August 13th at 8:30 PM, ET on Twitch.