- Erica Blackburn
Spirit's offense could not get it going against the Courage and went on to tie
The Washington Spirit took a draw with the North Carolina Courage at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. Sunday evening. This was the first time in the match-up between North Carolina that it ended in a draw.
Washington came into this game in a crucial position in the standings, tied at 22 points with OL Reign for third place. The Courage sat one place above the Spirit, claiming second place with 27 total points.
From the kickoff, the Spirit pressured the Courage, which knocked North Carolina off balance. Eventually, North Carolina found their rhythm and started giving the Spirit a dose of their own medicine.
At the seventh minute, Trinity Rodman made an attempt on goal, but the ball traveled far left. Rodman had another attempt on goal during the 22nd minute when she rocketed a shot over the post. In the 17th minute, Tori Huster set up Ashley Hatch for an attempt inside the box but was saved. There were scoring opportunities for the Spirit, but they entered halftime tied at 0-0.
Both teams came out of halftime applying pressure. Ashley Sanchez and Trinity Rodman were very active, getting opportunities for goals but came up empty. In the 76th minute, Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe flew out the box to make another huge save. There were great moments of transition by both teams, but neither teams could capitalize.
“Obviously we created a lot of opportunities, but we were missing that last little pass,” said midfielder Dorian Bailey. “That’s something we can improve on.”
This marked the second meeting between the two teams this regular season. The first came last month when the Spirit shut out the Courage 2-0 thanks to a brace from Ashley Hatch. The result was Washington’s first-ever clean sheet to date against North Carolina.
The Washington Spirit will look to avenge their previous loss to the Portland Thorns FC at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon on Saturday, September 4th at 10:30pm ET.