Washington Spirit best Sky Blue FC in 4-3 thriller

The Washington Spirit came out on top of a back and forth match Saturday evening in Boyds, Maryland, defeating the visitors Sky Blue FC 4-3 for the team’s first win of the 2017 season.

Few would have predicted the floodgates opening so dramatically for either side, as Sky Blue had managed just two goals prior and Washington only one. The victory moves Washington to seventh place, even with Sky Blue on points but winning the head to head.

Ordega owns the night

Sky Blue had the better of the possession through the opening five minutes.

But Francisca Ordega intervened for Washington and, as she would all night, made the difference for her club. Ordega justified the starting nod from Jim Gabarra and ended her night with two goals, an assist, and a hand in creating an own goal. She got started in the sixth minute when she buried a first time shot on a well-timed through ball from Line Sigvardsen Jensen to give the Spirit a 1-0 lead against the run of play.

Sky Blue equalized through a tight-angle shot by Kelley O’Hara six minutes later, but they had no match for Ordega, whose pace and movement created two more goals for the Spirit before halftime.

Stephanie Labbe made several fine saves to preserve the win for Washington (Source: Getty - Matthias Kern)
Stephanie Labbe made several fine saves to preserve the win for Washington (Source: Getty - Matthias Kern)

Washington retook the lead in the 26th minute when Sky Blue defender Erin Simon put the ball in her own net. Ordega created the opportunity by pressuring rookie center-back Miranda Freeman inside the box, winning the ball, and playing it across the face of goal as Sky Blue keeper Kailen Sheridan came off her line. Simon was moving towards her goal and had little time to react, and her clearance went in for a 2-1 Washington lead. The 33rd minute brought more creativity from Ordega as she played Havana Solaun in behind Sky Blue’s backline. Solaun finished with aplomb from six yards, giving the Spirit a 3-1 lead going into the second half.

Sky Blue hunt for late comeback

Not lacking for speed, Sky Blue came out firing on all cylinders in the second half and forced Washington keeper Stephanie Labbe into a point-blank save within the first minute. Labbe continued her superb work for her club in Week 4, but could do nothing when Sarah Killion made a clever run in the box and finished far-post to bring Sky Blue within one. The goal was Killion’s fifth for the New Jersey club and her first from the run of play.

Sarah Killion scored twice for Sky Blue (Source: Getty - Icon Sportswire)
Sarah Killion scored twice for Sky Blue (Source: Getty - Icon Sportswire)

Ordega compounded her good work from the first half and got the game-winner for Washington in the 56th minute on a long run, baiting Sheridan off her line and racing to finish before the ball could roll over the touchline. Sky Blue kept pressing for another goal, and earned a penalty kick in the 70th minute when Kassey Kallman pushed second-half substitute McKenzie Meehan down in the box, drawing a penalty. Killion buried the penalty for her second goal of the night and a final score of 4-3.

Sky Blue did not go quietly, however, and in the 94th minute Labbe was called on to make a game-saving block on a free kick by O’Hara. Thanks to that save, Washington hung on to notch their first win of the season.

Coming up

Both teams take to the road next Saturday. Sky Blue will travel to the Houston Dash and Washington go to the opposite coast to take on the Seattle Reign. Both games kick off at 4 p.m. ET.