Washington Spirit win first game of new NWSL season
Photo Credit: Washington Spirit Twitter (@WashSpirit)

The Washington Spirit were ready to start the fourth NWSL season off quickly against the Boston Breakers. They got out to an early 1-0 lead in style with a bicycle kick goal by Joanna Lohman in the third minute. She took a cross from Crystal Dunn and put it in the back of the net with the Spirit’s first shot on goal.

The Spirit nearly made it 2-0 in the seventh minute after Lohman goes for another shot that got saved by Breakers’ keeper Libby StoutEstefania Banini went in for the rebound on an empty net, but shot straight into the side netting, keeping the one goal advantage. Christine Nairn also had a chance a few minutes later with a rocket from outside the box, but Stout came up with the save.

The Breakers had control of the ball early in the first half, getting a couple shots away. Stephanie McCaffrey hit the side netting off of a cross from Kristie Mewis and the Australian Kyah Simon had shot deflected just wide. Mewis got a shot of her own from distance, but it was right at Spirit goalkeeper Stephanie Labbé.

The Breakers got the first corner of the night in the 24th minute which was taken by Louise Schillgard. The kick went straight into Labbé’s hands, but there was some confusion as to whether or not the ball crossed the goal line. The referee called it a goal then waved it off after he saw that the ball was just inches from crossing the line.

Dunn had a breakaway on goal in the 28th minute, but her pass to Katie Stengel was broken up by the Breaker’s defense. She had a couple shots of her own but none of them made it to the back of the net.

Spirit dominant throughout second half

Spirit celebrate after Joanna Lohman's goal / Photo: Washington Spirit

The Spirit kept control through the majority of the second half as well, but came up short on scoring more goals. Lohman nearly executed a carbon-copy repeat of her opening goal off of a cross from Dunn as she tried for another bicycle kick, but failed to connect cleanly. Shortly after, Banini and Dunn tried for shots that went over and wide of the goal.

Breakers had a chance to tie the match in the 59th when Mewis got taken down just outside the box. The following free kick was hit straight into the wall, the second shot was deflected, and McCaffrey had a follow-up that resulted in a goal kick for the Spirit.

Stout was a lifeline for the Breakers as she made a lot of crucial saves. The Spirit got a handful of shots off in the second half, but Stout and the Breakers’ defense were there to stop them. Cali Farquharson nearly got her first career goal off of Stout in the 84th minute, but Stout made a diving save to keep the score 1-0.

The Breakers had difficulty breaking through the Spirit defense, only having two shots on goal, while the Spirit had seven.

Coming Up

The Breakers will look for their first win next week in their home opener against the Seattle Reign and the Spirit will look to add another win next week at Sky Blue FC