Washington Spirit end 2018 with a 1-1 draw against Sky Blue FC
Washington Spirit end 2018 with a 1-1 draw against Sky Blue FC. | Photo: isiphotos.com

Washington Spirit end 2018 with a 1-1 draw against Sky Blue FC

The Spirit finished with a record of 2W-5D-17L, but the winless Sky Blue squad still has two more games to play.

aaron_bellamy
Aaron Bellamy

The Washington Spirit and Sky Blue FC played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday morning after the game had to be postponed due to inclement weather. Both teams are sure to feel disappointed with the inability to come away with three points from this match. The Spirit (2W-5D-17L; 11 points) tied a league record for fewest points in a season with the 2016 Boston Breakers, but Washington will be awarded the record because they achieved the feat in 24 games while Boston played only 20. The Spirit also set a new record for fewest goals in a season (12) while goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe set the league record for most saves in a season with 108. After firing head coach Jim Gabarra with just three games left to play, Washington will be doing some serious introspection now that their offseason has begun.

Sky Blue FC is working on records of their own for the 2018 season. SBFC is winless through their first 22 matches with a record of 0W-6D-16L. If they don't win their final two games they will take the fewest-points record away from the Spirit.

Sky Blue has to feel disappointed that they were not able to come away with a win in this match. This game was played during a FIFA window, so Washington was missing some of their best players including Mallory Pugh, Ashley Hatch, and Rose Lavelle. For their part, New Jersey was missing Carli Lloyd and Savannah McCaskill

For the entire first half, Sky Blue FC looked like the better team. In the 19th minute, Erika Skroski played a ball over the defensive line of Washington. McKenzie Meehan was able to head the ball past Bledsoe, but Meehan was deemed offside. In the 26th minute, Shea Groom drew a foul in the box that resulted in a Sky Blue FC penalty chance. Groom stepped up to finish the task, but her shot hit the crossbar and was eventually cleared away. Sky Blue continued to press all half, but they were unable to score and the half ended 0-0.

Sky Blue's Sarah Killion (16) challenged Washington's Johanna Lohman for a header. | Photo: isiphotos.com
Sky Blue's Sarah Killion (16) challenged Washington's Johanna Lohman for a header. | Photo: isiphotos.com

The second half started out much more evenly. Both teams had chances, but nothing dangerous came about. As the clock ticked past the 60th minute, the Spirit started to improve, and in the 71st minute, substitute Arielle Ship was able to score Washington's first goal in 756 minutes. The series started with Ship taking a hard shot that went right at goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. The ball spilled back in front of the net where forward Francisca Ordega took another shot that was parried away by Sheridan. The ball found the feet of Ship once again, and this time Sheridan was unable to make the save. 

In the 78th minute a Sky Blue shot went off the post once again, and it started feeling like fortune had doomed them to a 17th loss on the year. Finally, with the game nearly over, SBFC found the equalizer. Madison Tiernan sent a low cross to the top of the box. A dummy befuddled the defense, and Sarah Killion took a cracking shot that hit the underside of the crossbar and then the back of the net. Sky Blue tried desperately to get a second goal, but they just couldn't make it happen.

The Spirit are now done with their season, but Sky Blue FC will travel to face the Chicago Red Stars on Tuesday night.

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