Washington Spirit find their second win of the season over Sky Blue FC in Rose Lavelle return
Ashley Hatch the goal scorer in Wednesday's win over Sky Blue l Photo: Anya Button

It was all glory for Rose Lavelle’s return to NWSL action with a Washington Spirit win. A second-half goal for Ashley Hatch, her second goal of the season, assisted by Andi Sullivan for her first assist of the year. For the opposing team, Sky Blue FC, it was a disappointment once again in 2018. Sky Blue is still without a win in 2018.

Plenty of chances, no capitalization

Washington opened the half of chances when in the 9th minute when Taylor Smith drove to the end line and crossed the ball into the box. Francesca Ordega and Mallory Pugh were both waiting in the box to finish, but neither could get a solid shot off that would beat Kailen Sheridan in her net. Pugh had her ankle stepped on following the shot on goal, but continued the match. Hatch also had another good shot, but Sheridan was there to collect. Ordega was issued a yellow card in the 16th minute for a high boot that connected with the chest of Rebekah Stott. Sky Blue had their first real chance of the game when Janine Beckie drove down the left flank and crossed the ball with Carli Lloyd and Katie Johnson in the box, but Lloyd’s touch sent the ball over the bar. The chances continued for both sides through the first half. Aubrey Bledsoe denied a big shot from Beckie with a punch over the bar. Shortly after Ordega found herself running through the Sky Blue defense but Mandy Freeman  put her body between the ball and the goal prohibiting a shot off. Beckie had another great opportunity with a curling shot headed for the right corner, but Bledsoe was there again. The first half ended with both team's having shots on goal, but neither finding the back of the net.

Goal celebration from the Spirit in March win over the Orlando Pride l source: washingtonspirit.com
Goal celebration from the Spirit in March win over the Orlando Pride l source: washingtonspirit.com

A goal and a return

Chances continued into the second half. Sky Blue made two changes into the second half. Christina Gibbons who was out last week with an injury came in at outside back for Erica Skroski. The young prodigy, Savannah McCaskill, replaced Madison Tiernan. In the 64th minute, Sullivan delivered a free kick into the center of the box and Ashley Hatch was there to head it past Sheridan in the bottom left corner. In the 74th minute, Rose Lavelle made her first appearance of the 2018 season after a long battle with a hamstring injury. This was also Lavelle’s first appearance for the Washington Spirit after being picked first in the Boston Breakers Dispersal Draft. Sky Blue added another set of fresh legs bringing on Shea Groom for Raquel Rodriguez. The fresh legs were not enough for Sky Blue as they were handed their sixth loss of the season. Washington’s win is their first since March and their second overall. 

The Washington Spirit will go on the road to Houston to battle Dash. The Dash have two points over the Spirit. As for Sky Blue, they will continue to try for their first win of the season against the Seattle Reign in New Jersey.