Spirit Beat Orlando for Historic Win at Packed Audi Field
Washington, D.C. - On a memorable night for the club and for soccer fans across the DMV, the Washington Spirit took down the Orlando Pride in front of a record-smashing crowd of 19,871 on Saturday night at Audi Field. After forward Crystal Thomas opened the scoring early in the first half, forward Ashley Hatch headed home the winner in the second half to send the massive audience home happy.
The result broke Washington's three-game losing streak against Orlando and moved the Spirit up to sixth place in the NWSL standings.
In the ninth minute, forward Crystal Thomas pounced on Orlando goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris to score the first-ever Spirit goal at Audi Field. As Harris tried to control a backpass from a defender, Thomas slid in front of her to knock the ball into a wide-open net.
After Brazilian legend Marta equalized for the Pride in the 31st minute, Hatch struck back in the 59th, leaping in front of U.S. national team defender Ali Krieger to nod home a Tori Huster cross. Harris, another member of the World Cup champion national team, could only watch as the ball sailed out of reach to her left.
With four of the team's six World Cup stars sidelined by injuries, including Americans Rose Lavelle and Mallory Pugh, the Spirit's outstanding depth came together to overcome Orlando's more heralded lineup. Goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe once again stood firm for Washington with two huge saves, including a close-range one-handed stop against Rachel Hill in the 70th minute.
The stunning crowd more than doubled the Spirit's previous club record for attendance, set last year when the team made its Audi Field debut in front of 7,976 fans. There will be another chance to pack the Southwest D.C. venue when Washington takes on Reign FC on September 14.
In the meantime, the Spirit will continue the push for an NWSL playoff spot with a rematch against the Pride next week in Orlando. D.C. area fans can watch the match on Monumental Sports Network and NBC Sports Washington beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday night.
-NWSL Match Report-
Match: Washington Spirit vs Orlando Pride
Date: August 24, 2019
Venue: Audi Field
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: Cloudy, mid 70s
Goals 1 2 F
Washington 1 1 2
Orlando 1 0 1
WAS - Thomas 9'
ORL - Marta 31'
WAS - Hatch 59'
WAS (4-3-3): 1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 14-Paige Nielsen; 3-Sam Staab; 23-Tori Huster; 19-Dorian Bailey; 12-Andi Sullivan (c); 8-Meggie Dougherty Howard; 17-Cali Farquharson (63' 20-Cheyna Matthews); 33-Ashley Hatch (87' 7-Amy Harrison); 4-Jordan DiBiasi (69' 13-Bayley Feist); 31-Crystal Thomas
Unused Substitutes: 5-Megan Crosson; 2-Arielle Ship; 30-Shae Yanez; 18-McKenzie Berryhill
ORL (4-3-3): 24-Ashlyn Harris (c); 19-Erin Greening (72' 20-Abby Elinsky); 11-Ali Krieger; 16-Carson Pickett (60' 7-Claire Emslie); 4-Shelina Zadorsky; 25-Joanna Boyles; 17-Dani Weatherholt; 23-Marisa Viggiano (76' 9-Camila); 10-Marta; 15-Rachel Hill; 12-Kristen Edmonds
Unused Substitutes: 8-Danica Evans; 22-Bridget Callahan; 28-Haley Kopmeyer; 27-Morgan Reid
Stats Summary: WAS / ORL
Shots: 15 / 11
Shots on Target: 7 / 3
Saves: 2 / 5
Blocked Shots: 1 / 3
Fouls: 10 / 6
Offside: 2 / 3
WAS - Paige Nielsen 38' - Yellow Card
ORL - Claire Emslie 90+1' - Yellow Card
WAS - Bayley Feist 90+1' - Yellow Card
Referee: Matthew Franz
Assistant Referee 1: Adrienne McDonald
Assistant Referee 2: Kaili Terry
Fourth Official: Alla Stepanov
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National Women's Soccer League Stories from August 24, 2019
- Carli Lloyd Lifts Sky Blue FC over the Houston Dash in a 2-1 Win - Sky Blue FC
- Dash Fall to Sky Blue FC 2-1 at BBVA Stadium - Houston Dash
- Orlando Pride Edged 2-1 by Washington Spirit in Front of Record Crowd - Orlando Pride
- Spirit Beat Orlando for Historic Win at Packed Audi Field - Washington Spirit
- Reign FC Take Narrow Loss at NC Courage - OL Reign
- Lynn Williams Scores Game-Winning Goal in NC Courage Win over Reign FC - North Carolina Courage
- Storylines | Pride vs. Washington Spirit - Orlando Pride
- Three Points: the Dash Take on Sky Blue FC for Third and Final Time to Close Season Series - Houston Dash
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