UGK Challenge Cup: Match 6
Box Score: 1-0
- Final Challenge Cup Match- With several players gone for international call ups and a few out with injuries, the lineup for this Challenge Cup match looked a bit different. The inconsistencies over the last few non-regular season games don’t accurately show what the Spirit are capable of, but this match was nothing less than a hard fought win. Close chances, big defensive stops and a miraculous goal in stoppage time, brought the Spirit’s final 2023 Challenge Cup game to a wild, and fun end.
With McKeown out with a leg injury, the backfield for the Spirit looked a bit different Friday night, with Jordan Thompson making her first career start. To start the Spirit’s sixth and final UGK Challenge Cup match, the Spirit looked to build on their momentum from their most recent win.
An early chance from Orlando, the Spirit’s defense broke it up and cleared the ball. The Pride controlled most of the momentum in the opening half, with Barnhart making big saves to keep Orlando off the scoresheet. The Pride have two shot attempts, one headed wide and one high and out, before the half ends. Both teams tied at zero.
To open the second half, Orlando’s Doyle takes a shot on goal, and Barnhart comes up with a big save. Barnhart, who’s seen much of the action near her for this match, gets two more big saves soon after, keeping the game scoreless. The Pride, building off of their offensive control from the first half, creating more shot attempts than the Spirit, but it’s in stoppage time where the momentum shifts in the Spirit’s favor.
Speckmaier, who was subbed on for Hatch at 83rd minute, wins the ball in the midfield, takes the ball upfield and shoots it hard from outside the box. At the 90+8th minute, Speckmaier gets her first professional goal and the only goal in the entire match, lifting the Spirit to a 1-0 win.
Washington Spirit Goals – Speckmaier 90+8’
Orlando Pride Goals –
Barnhart; Bailey (Butel 83’), Staab, Thompson, Brooks; Elwell, Ricketts (Huster 68’), Metayer (Douglas 68’), Biegalski; Hatch (Speckmaier 83’), Silano (Feist 87’)
Orlando Pride (433)
Moorhouse; Martinez, Cosme, Madril, Strom (McCutcheon 56’); Yates (Morris 78’), Listro, Abello; Doyle (Tymrak 68’), Watt (Bright 46’), Cluff (Villacorta 67’)
Washington Spirit- Huster 88’