The Takeaways

  • Sustainability Night at Audi Before the match, the Spirit hosted Sustainability Night to promote of Earth Day, also April 22. The day was planned by Anna Heilferty, who is the first ambassador of Sustainability DC. The day included activities like face painting and demonstrations from local nonprofits focused on sustainability initiatives. There were also performers on stilts and with colorful butterfly wings to add to the vibe!
  • Spirits remain unbeaten After the match, Mark Parsons was happy with the defensive performance but wants to see the attacking play find that additional pass or bit of space to create higher quality chances. However, the brand new partnership of Staab and McKeown, with McKeown still transitioning from forward to center back, has become formidable already. After the match, Sam Staab admitted that they refer to themselves as the “Bash Bros” because of them both being strong and physical in their defending.

NWSL Regular Season – Match 4

First Half

The opening ten minutes began with both teams feeling one another out and not wanting to make the first mistake. Houston’s positional flexibility took some time for the Spirit to adjust to, with Maria Sánchez given a lot of freedom to move centrally to the wing.

Washington was forced into an early substitution when Dorian Bailey went down with an apparent leg injury and had to be replaced by Amber Brooks.

Spirit started finding a bit of joy by pressuring Houston before they can build out of their half and a couple turnovers lead to some decent Spirit chances. Washington’s best chances came in the 19th and 25th minutes.

First, Rodman got through on goal after a bit of pinball read well by the Spirit. She charged into the box and had a narrow angle and went for power but Campbell stayed low and deflected the shot out for a corner, which came to nothing. Six minutes later it was Sanchez who had another great chance. Rodman got wide and sprayed the ball into her feet but Sanchez’s shot didn’t have enough power to beat Campbell.

The Spirit had the balance of play as the half came to a close, but Houston’s Maria Sánchez ended up crafting the best chance in the late stages of the first half. Some skill got her by Amber Brooks and she fed a ball in from wide that was behind her attackers but found Caprice Dydasco, who tried to square a pass to Ordóñez but the Spirit defended well to reclaim possession.

Second Half

The second half started off with some fireworks as Trinity Rodman sends Ashley Sanchez through into the box but she tries a near post finish that Campbell reads and grabs.

In the 57th minute Ashley hatch and Ashley Sanchez combine to put Dash’s hearts in their throats! Hatch is fed the ball wide and waits for a crossing opportunity and picks out Sanchez beautifully, whose header is strong but smacks off the post. It was a great move by the Spirit and the sort of movement they’ve been trying to find to craft consistent chances.

Aubrey Kingsbury is called on to make a save to keep the game 0-0 in the 70th minute by tipping a flicked on header to the underside of the bar.

The second half continued with some tentative attacking but the Spirit probably had the better of play. A few good moves were just a run or pass away from causing Houston trouble, but the cohesion needed to force the issue still isn’t quite there.

Still, the Spirit continued to put pressure on Houston and cause them problems. Including after Chloe Ricketts got into the game in the match in the 71st minute. Ricketts helped craft the Spirit’s best chance of the half when she put some moves on a Dash defender in the 77th minute and sent the ball into Ashley Hatch, whose header fell right to Campbell.

Despite the Spirit looking improved in possession, they still weren’t able to craft a chance to grab a goal. However, thanks to some key saves by Kingsbury, the Spirit also kept the Dash from getting on the scoreboard. The match ended 0-0 with the Spirit maintaining their unbeaten run in the league.

Goals

Washington Spirit – 0
Dash – 0

Lineups

Washington (442): Kingsbury; Carle, Staab, McKeown, Bailey (Brooks 16′); Sullivan; Jaurena (Ricketts 71′), Metayer; Sanchez (Douglas 90+1′); Hatch (Kuhlmann 90+1′), Rodman

Houston Dash (433): Campbell; Chapman, Prisock, Jacobs, Dydasco; Viggiano, Sánchez (Alozie 79′), Schmidt; Petersen (Solaun 46′), Ordóñez, Salmon (Tucker 90+4)

Misconduct Summary

Spirit: Brooks 39′, 64′ Staab

Dash: None

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Arvind

Agreed with the recap generally, but I think a major takeaway from this match is going to be how much the reffing impacted the game. Lots of stoppages for phantom fouls and inexplicable decisions in both directions, but mostly against the Spirit, that added up to really stifle play and cut short some decent posessions.

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