With just three regular season matches to go, the Washington Spirit fought to a dramatic 2-1 win over Kansas City Current to keep hold of a playoff spot.
- Sarr. Though she only arrived in Washington in June, Ouleymata Sarr had already looked like a bright spot in the Spirit’s attack. Though she was still adjusting to the league, her brightness on the ball and intelligent decision making stood out. In this match, she displayed the same, but also added a driven low shot for her NWSL first.
- Rodman. Trinity is simply one of the best players in the world. It’s a joy to watch her game in and game out. Her effort, whether pressing, defending, making a run or trying to beat players 1v1 is never less than a thousand hundred percent. She’s been flying for country, and transferring that to club at just the right time.
- Relief. It’s been months since the Spirit could walk away from a match with all three points, putting them in the perilous position of holding onto the last playoff spot with several teams below them clamoring. Securing three points with a 91st minute goal brought elation and relief throughout Audi Field. With just two matches remaining, the table looks a lot better for the Spirit.
With three points an absolute must, Mark Parsons trotted out the more balanced 4231 with Metayer and Sullivan holding in midfield, and a three of Sarr, Sanchez and Rodman behind Hatch.
Early chances fell for both teams in the first twelve minutes. Aubrey Kingsbury made a diving save on Debinha, a Rodman cross was just cut out before it reached Sarr, and Hatch had a shot roll just wide after a great pass from Rodman.
In the twentieth minute things got tougher for the Spirit as Sam Staab conceded a penalty. Debinha stepped up to take it and despite Kingsbury reading the strike and diving the wrong way, the shot had just enough pace to evade her before hitting the back of the net.
Halftime came with the Spirit down to the Current via a penalty. Though some half chances came, Washington struggled to create the clear cut opportunity to get level before the break. An important forty-five minutes awaited the Spirit after the break.
The Spirit started the second half with lots of intent but a couple fluffed shots failed to test Franch. Then, seven minutes after the break, Ouleymata Sarr got another chance and this time plunged her laces through the ball to ensure her first NWSL goal.
The match lulled a bit after subs were introduced with just under twenty minutes left. Kingsbury needed to be first to a couple squirming chances, but thankfully was and the Spirit remained in the hunt for a winner.
It remained tied into stoppage time, and then, Trinity MF’n Rodman. Gabby Carle fought off a challenge to burst up the left wing before spotting a run from Rodman. The pass curled perfectly into her path, and Rodman fought off her own challenge, went a bit wide, but still put a low, hard shot on target and by Franch.
After a tiny scare that was eventually held by Kingsbury, the final whistle came and the Spirit secured their first regular season win since June 18, when they also beat Kansas City. The three points secures the Spirit will finish fourth no matter the rest of the results this weekend, a much improved and stronger spot with just two games remaining.
NWSL Regular Season: Game 20
Washington Spirit – 2 (Sarr 52′, 90+1)
Current – 1 (Debinha 21′ [pen])
Washington Spirit (4231): Kingsbury; Carle, Staab, McKeown, Butel (Bailey 78′); Sullivan, Metayer; Sarr (Biegalski 72′), Sanchez (Feist 72′), Rodman; Hatch (Brooks 90+5)
Current (433) – Franch; Rodriguez (Lavogez 72′), Robinson, Ball, Del Fava; LaBonta (Curran 85′), Loera, Debinha; Kizer (Spaanstra 57′), Mace, Cooper
Spirit – Staab (20′)
Current – Mace (39′), Rodriguez (58′), Robinson (87′)