The Washington Spirit hosted Sky Blue FC in the first week of the 2019 National Women's Soccer League season. Although both teams had changes in the first half, neither team was able to capitalize on their opportunities. However, two second half goals by Washington Spirit newcomers Sam Staab and Megan Crosson lead the head coach Richie Burke and the Washington Spirit to a 2-0 win over coach Denise Reddy and Sky Blue FC.
First Half Chances
In the first minute, Sky Blue FC earned an early corner. However, it was scooped up by Aubrey Bledsoe. In the eleventh minute, Nahomi Kawasumi found Carli Lloyd's head. Lloyd headed the ball off the crossbar. However, no Sky Blue players were there for the rebound. In the thirteenth minute, fans thought Washington's Ashley Hatch had opened the scoring. However, she was called offsides. After a long throw in in the twenty-fifth minute from the Spirit's Sam Staab, Megan Dougherty-Howard whipped in a shot that just missed the upper right. In the thirty-first minute, Sky Blue FC earned a corner that was headed then, flicked on by Imani Dorsey. It was eventually cleared off the line by the back line of Washington. A long cross by the Spirit's Paige Nielsen was denied by a diving Kailen Sheridan then cleared by Sky Blue's back line. In the forty-second minute, Raquel Rodriguez got a header to Lloyd that was stopped in the box by the Spirit. Although there was many, neither team was able to capitalize on their first half chances.
Second Half Chances
Right out of the locker room, the Spirit were looking to get on the board. In the forty-seventh minute, Washington had multiple shot attempts from Cheyna Matthews and Jordan DiBiasi. Sheridan was up to the task and came up with a few huge saves to keep the game level. In the fifty-ninth minute, the Spirit earned a corner kick, after a Kailen Sheridan save, a loose ball eventually found Washington Spirit rookie Staab inside the eighteen and she found the back of the net to give the Spirit the 1-0 lead. In the seventy-fourth minute, Sky Blue FC had a great chance. One that came off a corner. Dominique Richardson sent a ball into the back post that found Lloyd's head and forced Bledsoe to tip it over the bar. Fans thought Paige Monaghan would level the game in the seventy-eighth minute as she was one on one with the goalkeeper. However, Bledsoe was able to come up with a huge save to keep the Spirit with a 1-0 lead. In the eighty-eighth minute, Sky Blue FC's Erica Skroski sent a long ball in that just missed McKenzie Meehan's head. The ball was calmly collected by Bledsoe. The Spirit's second goal came in the ninety-second minute. A beautiful Mallory Pugh cross found Crosson's head and her header found the back of the net.
How The Goals Came
In the fifty-ninth minute, the Spirit earned a corner kick, after a Sheridan save, a loose ball eventually found Staab inside the eighteen and she found the back of the net to not only give the Spirit the 1-0 lead, but also open her scoring account. The Spirit's second goal came in the ninety-second minute. A beautiful Pugh cross found Crosson's head and her header found the back of the net.
Teams: Washington Spirit vs Sky Blue FC
Match Info: The match was played on Saturday, April thirteenth at seven o'clock eastern daylight time. The match was played at Maryland Soccerplex with an attendance of 2,373.
Washington Spirit: Aubrey Bledsoe, Ashley Hatch (Farquharson, Min. 69) Cheyna Matthews (Crosson, Min. 69), Mallory Pugh, Meggie Dougherty Howard (Bailey, Min. 78), Jordan DiBiasi, Andi Sullivan, Tegan McGrady, Sam Staab, Tori Huster, Paige Nielsen.
Sky Blue FC: Kailen Sheridan, Carli Lloyd, Raquel Rodríguez (Hoy, Min. 78), Nahomi Kawasumi, Julie James (Monaghan, Min. 67), Sarah Killion, Imani Dorsey (Meehan, Min. 85), Estelle Johnson, Dominique Richardson, Erica Skroski, Caprice Dydasco.