Washington Spirit Defeat Chicago Red Stars 2-0
The Spirit took the lead in the 9th minute via an own goal by the Red Stars. Photo: www.twitter.com/WashSpirit

Washington Spirit Defeat Chicago Red Stars 2-0

The young Spirit team continue their impressive start to this season.

Jessica Guan

The Washington Spirit defeated the Chicago Red Stars to climb to second place in the standings.

Spirit make goal line clearance but Red Stars can't do the same

The Spirit denied the home team a goal in the 7th minute. Red Stars defender Arin Wright crossed a ball toward the goal, but Spirit goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe could not handle it cleanly. It fell to Red Stars captain Vanessa DiBernanrdo who took a shot that Bledsoe had no chance of saving. Luckily, defender Paige Nielsen was in the right position to knock the ball away with her head.

Paige Nielsen cleared the ball off the line for the Spirit in the 7th minute. Photo: www.twitter.com/WashSpirit
Paige Nielsen cleared the ball off the line for the Spirit in the 7th minute. Photo: www.twitter.com/WashSpirit

Then, three minutes later, the Red Stars gave up an own goal. Jordan DiBiasi, who has been a contender for Rookie of the Year early this season, found the head of fellow rookie Samantha Staab from a corner kick. There was some confusion between Red Stars goalkeeper Emily Boyd and Yuki Nagasato on the goal line which caused Boyd to deflect the ball into her own net.

In the 15th minute, the Red Stars won a free kick near the middle of their attacking half of the field. DiBernardo played the ball out wide to defender Brooke Elby who crossed it into the box looking for the head of a teammate. However, Bledsoe came out strong to grab the ball out of the air.

But the Red Stars kept their foot on the gas. In the 24th minute, some fantastic passing and dribbling from Nagasato and Mexican teammate Katie Johnson allowed Nagasato to take a shot just outside the box, but the ball went straight into the gloves of Bledsoe.

In the 39th minute, it was Johnson who attempted to equalize the match from just outside the box. However, her curling shot narrowly missed the upper right corner.

The Spirit took their 1-0 lead into the locker room.

Spirit maintain momentum in second half

A long throw-in from Staab in the 52nd minute connected with forward Ashley Hatch, but Hatch's header bounced just wide of the goal.

Bledsoe did do her part to keep the Red Stars scoreless. In the 54th minute, some precise passing between DiBernardo and Michele Vasconcelos ended with the captain slipping a through ball to Johnson. But Bledsoe deflected her shot high and behind the net.

The Spirit increased their lead in the 63rd minute. Arielle Ship crossed the ball into the box and Hatch beat her defender to get a foot on it and put it into the net.

In the 83rd minute, the Red Stars had a corner kick that found Wright's head. Nagasato got a foot on the ball to deflect it toward the goal, but Bledsoe made a reaction save to preserve her team's two-goal lead.

In the 4th minute of stoppage time, Bledsoe also dove to the ground to make a save on a low shot by Casey Short.

The Washington Spirit (4-1-1) host the Utah Royals FC next Saturday, and the Chicago Red Stars (3-2-2) travel to Portland next Sunday.