Spirit Best Courage in Late Thriller
Boyds, Md., - In their final home game of the season, the Washington Spirit came from behind to beat the North Carolina Courage 2-1, in front of a sellout crowd at Maureen Hendricks Field on Saturday.
North Carolina, the 2019 NWSL Shield winners, started the game in their typical aggressive fashion as they produced three chances on goal within the first seven minutes of the game. The Spirit opted for a counter-attacking approach in the first half, in an attempt to capitalize on the Courage's high powered offense.
The Spirit's counterattack efforts went unrewarded as they were unable to produce a shot on target in the first half, and the Courage finally found the back of the net a minute before the first half ended. North Carolina forward Jessica McDonald crossed the ball to the near post, and forward Lynn Williams tapped the ball into the net in the 45+2' minute.
Washington opted to change their formation heading into the second half, in a move to play more aggressively in the Carolina half. The Courage matched their aggression, but Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe refused to be beaten again and finished the game with 7 saves.
The Spirit found an equalizer in the form of a Mallory Pugh strike from the left side of the box after she received a through ball from substitute Bayley Feist at the top of the box. Pugh's shot took a deflection and found its way into the back of the net to level the score.
The Spirit took the lead at the death of the match via a Rose Lavelle goal, her first in a Spirit uniform. Lavelle found herself with space at the top of the box, made a quick cut to her left foot to move into the box, then fired a low driven ball into the far right post, giving the Spirit the win.
Washington will travel to Orlando to take on the Pride on Saturday, Oct. 5. The match will be streaming online on Monumental Sports and will be televised on NBC Sports Washington.
-NWSL Match Report-
Match: Washington Spirit vs North Carolina Courage
Date: September 28, 2019
Venue: Maureen Hendricks Field
Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. ET
Weather: Partly cloudy, low 80s
Goals 1 2 F
Washington 0 2 2
North Carolina 1 0 1
NC - Williams 45+2
WAS - Pugh 75'
WAS - Lavelle 84'
WAS (4-4-2): 1-Aubrey Bledsoe; 14-Paige Nielsen; 3-Sam Staab; 23-Tori Huster; 19-Dorian Bailey; 12-Andi Sullivan (c); 8-Meggie Dougherty-Howard (46' 6-Chloe Logarzo); 10-Rose Lavelle; 33-Ashley Hatch (82' 2-Arielle Ship); 11-Mallory Pugh; 20-Cheyna Matthews (66' 13-Bayley Feist)
Unused Substitutes: 30-Shae Yanez; 7-Amy Harrison; 31-Crystal Thomas; 4-Jordan DiBiasi
NC(4-3-3): 1-Steph Labbe; 6-Abby Erceg (c); 13-Abby Dahlkemper; 15-Jae Hinkle; 17-Heather O'Reilly; 7-McCall Zerboni (88' 16-Julia Spetsmark); 8-Denise O'Sullivan; 10-Debinha; 9-Lynn Williams; 14-Jess McDonald (74' 4-McKenzie Meehan); 19-Crystal Dunn
Unused Substitutes: 0-Katelyn Rowland; 3-Kaleigh Kurt; 5-Sam Mewis; 21-Cari Roccaro; 25-Meredith Speck
Stats Summary: WAS/ NC
Shots on Target: 3/9
Blocked Shots: 1/6
WAS - Tori Huster 56' - Yellow Card
WAS - Cheyna Matthews 59' - Yellow Card
NC - Abby Erceg - Yellow Card
Referee: Ismir Pekmic
Assistant Referee 1: Ben Pilgrim
Assistant Referee 2: Katarzyna Wasiak
Fourth Official: Alla Stepanov
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