The Spirit grabbed two leads but desperation from San Diego forced a sharing of the points.
- Intensity: BACK – After the letdown versus Orlando both Parsons and the players said the intensity level wasn’t where they expected it to be, and were determined to not let that be a problem against San Diego. Starting the rambunctious teenage talent Chloe Ricketts certainly helped, but the entire team maintained a high intensity throughout the match.
- Ashley Hatch revenge tour – This was only Hatch’s second game since having to cope with missing out on the World Cup, and it was her best match in some time. She drew the penalty and converted it, and also chased down balls, crafted opportunities, and pressed the backline and goalkeeper hard all night. This period is a difficult but important one, and Hatch is rising to the challenge already.
NWSL Regular Season – Matchday 15
Though head coach Mark Parsons had mixed up the formation during previous games, the 442 returned from the start, but with a few names in some new places. Maddie Elwell started in front of Dorian Bailey as one of the wide box-to-box midfielders, and Chloe Ricketts started in as the team’s #10.
In the opening ten minutes the Spirit started with their trademark intensity, which was lacking last week versus Orlando. Some good vision from Dorian Bailey led to a half chance and a floated in ball from Silano just missed the head of Elwell far post.
Fourteen minutes in, the Wave settled into the match and Jaedyn Shaw (remember her? yeah we’re still annoyed at that) found space behind the defense and was pulled down by Metayer, then again by Jaurena, which earned the latter a yellow card (and a weird VAR check for a red card??).
Five minutes later VAR came into play again, this time in potential favor of the Spirit as the goalkeeper clipped Hatch’s heels in the box while trying to kick the ball. After a few minutes glaring into the monitor the referee gives the pen but elects not to dole out a card of any kind. Odd decision, but captain Ashley Hatch stepped up to put the Spirit ahead 1-0.
At the 35 minute mark Rachel Hill gets in behind Sam Staab but the ironwoman wraps her leg around to get the ball away and the referee deems it a clean challenge. If we’re removing our cherry blossom tinted glasses we’d say that if VAR had a look it may not have been so clean, but why would we ever take off such a stunning accessory?
Anyway, San Diego started finding the space and switching the ball to find release valves and carry the ball into dangerous areas. Some good headed clearances from Tara McKeown made sure they came to nothing.
The Wave’s best chance came from a free kick that Taylor Kornieck got to ahead of Nicole Barnhart. The net was empty but the ball floated over the bar. After some nearly scary moments around one another’s box, the half ended with the Spirit maintaining their 1-0 lead, courtesy of Ashley Hatch’s penalty.
Seconds into the second half the Wave equalized. It was a simple corner but the ball was allowed to bobble and bounce into the area. Barnhart scrambled across her line but a toe from Cheyenne Shorts got to the ball to poke it over the line. It was certainly not the start to the half the Spirit wanted, but the perfect response from San Diego. Game on.
But football is cruel so Shorts’ delight in scoring on her NWSL debut came tumbling down as a Dorian Bailey cross was pushed into the net by Shorts, giving the Spirit the lead once again. A terrific ball along the ground from Sam Staab opened the Wave up and a nice slide through pass to Bailey put the defense in a horrible position. Hatch was bracketed well, but the Wave couldn’t deal with the ball in.
Amber Brooks and Lena Silano combined around the box in the the 65th minute, courtesy of a brilliant backheel by the former. Silano had a great cutback but her shot was blocked and her header back in couldn’t find a teammate.
Both coaches made a bevy of subs before the 70 minute mark, each seeking to wrest control and bag the next goal.
San Diego continued to be a problem from corners, and after some more bobbling around after one in the 77th minute Taylor Kornieck lined up a powerful shot five yards away from Barnhart. Our keeper turned back the clock and reacted quickly to push the ball aside to preserve the lead.
Just before teams could head into stoppage time Taylor Kornieck’s tallness finally came to San Diego’s rescue as she sent a looping header over Barnhart and into the back of the net. The teams headed into eight minutes of stoppage time with the match tied 2-2 and all three points up for grabs if either team finds their third.
San Diego controlled most of the ball in stoppage time but the Spirit resolve held firm through a lot of pressure and secured an away point. It was a bit of an unfortunate ending as the Spirit held the lead twice, but San Diego’s desperation earned them two goals and in the end both teams went home with a point apiece.
San Diego Wave – 2 (Shorts 46′, Kornieck 90′)
Washington Spirit – 2 (Hatch 23′ [P], Shorts 54′ [OG])
Wave (433) – Yañez; Cortez (Pogarch 60′), Shorts, Riehl, Westphal; Dougherty Howard (Barcenas 60′), Colaprico, Kornieck; Doniak (Turnbow 66′), Shaw, Hill (Ali 66′)
Spirit (4312) – Barnhart; Carle, Staab, McKeown, Bailey; Elwell, Metayer, Jaurena (Brooks 60′); Ricketts (Douglas 60′); Hatch [c] (Speckmaier 90′), Silano (Biegalski 66′)
Wave – Shaw 70′
Spirit – Jaurena 14′, Ricketts 45+3′, McKeown, 51′, Carle 89′